MWith a campaign on social media, the Thuringian SPD is calling for people to ignore the TV duel between parliamentary group leaders Björn Höcke from the AfD and Mario Voigt from the CDU. Under the motto “Get involved. And Voigt against Höcke!” she suggests watching something else on Thursday evening, when the private television station Welt TV broadcasts the discussion between the two politicians.

“Netflix and chill instead of lies and agitation” is a slogan with which the SPD wants to ensure a boycott of the show. “It’s better to watch the Wolf of Wall Street instead of a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” is another saying referring to the radical AfD politician. Even Heidi Klum's casting show “Germany's Next Top Model” is recommended instead of the show with Höcke.

“Instead of ruining the evening with a black-brown TV duel, you can turn to wonderful alternatives,” the Thuringian SPD chairman, Interior Minister Georg Maier, is quoted as saying. He criticizes Voigt for wanting to discuss things with Höcke on television. “You don’t talk to Nazis,” said Maier. He suggested to Voigt to cancel the duel. “But his desire for popularity causes him to throw all decency overboard.” Voigt is only concerned with an “election-tactical show event.”

Voigt had explained that in the duel, which is primarily about Europe, he wanted to highlight the negative consequences that an AfD election victory would have for Thuringia – for example through Germany's exit from the EU, which is supported by the Höcke party. The Thuringian CDU said that Höcke had to be “drawn into the light and the AfD had to be confronted with content”.

However, it is also controversial in the CDU whether this approach is appropriate. The Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff (CDU), recently said that he “would not want to give the AfD a platform apart from what it is entitled to in parliament”. There are smart people who support this confrontational approach. But there are also smart people who warned that this would present Höcke as “a serious alternative,” Haseloff told the newspaper “Die Zeit”.