Jonathan Ladd is an Associate Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Department of Government at Georgetown University and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He studies the news media, partisan polarization and public opinion. His book, Why Americans Hate the Media and How it Matters (Princeton, 2012), examines the contentious relationship between journalists, political leaders and the mass public throughout American history. It won the Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and the McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior and Political Psychology. He is also a regular contributor at the political science blog Mischiefs of Faction. He received his PhD in Politics from Princeton University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He is currently involved in several projects investigating the relationship between the information environment and mass-level partisanship.
All Western democracies, including the U.S. and Germany, are seeing powerful protest movements against globalization and integration. They are agitating for a recapturing of control, or 'sovereignty,' and often also of ethnic homogeneity. Although they keep talking about the nation-state, they oppose key principles of Western constitutionalism like separation of powers and the protection of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. They want a tribalization of politics. That's something the Tea Party and the U.S. alt-right have in common with the AfD.
Germany's postwar foreign policy had two lodestars: atonement for World War II and the Holocaust, as well as reconciliation with its victims and enemies — and joining the universe of Western democracies, and specifically integration into the U.N., NATO, and the European Union. The AfD [Alternative for Germany] more or less explicitly rejects both these orienting principles in favor of an ethno-nationalist, sovereignist, anti-European, anti-American and pro-Russian stance.
There is a general German preference for political stability. That is reinforced by the creeping instability of Germany’s situation in the middle of Europe, the crisis in the Middle East and Africa, Russian aggression, a trans-Atlantic relationship that is suddenly fraught, and Eastern European neighbors who are flirting with authoritarianism.