When Americans think of election meddling, Russia comes to mind. But that is not the case with the elections in Germany set to take place on Sunday. Researchers say American alt-right groups are trying to turn voters against Chancellor Angela Merkel.
USA Today reported:
An alliance of mostly anonymous online trolls and extremist agitators are meddling in Germany’s election, but researchers say Russians aren’t to blame.
Instead, they say, right-wing groups in the United States are behind materials popping up on YouTube, messaging board sites like 4chan and reddit and texting service Gab.ai.
The evidence comes less than a week before Sunday’s vote that is likely to hand German Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term.
Some of the evidence comes from tweets with the hashtag #altRight, traced back to American far-right groups that promote racism and white nationalism, according to Simon Hegelich, a Munich political science professor who has been analyzing the data.
Interference by American right-wing ideologues was not the starting point for the source of the internet trolls. The first suspect was Russians, because of their assault on the 2016 U.S. presidential race. However, that was soon debunked when all signs pointed instead to the “alt-right movement in the U.S.,” according to Raw Story.
Support from the alt-right may have helped propel Trump into office, but Germans have no intention of repeating America’s mistake. Trump is extremely unpopular in Germany, and despite the efforts of #altRight trolls, Angela Merkel is expected to win a fourth term on Sunday.
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