The argument is not without its problems. However, in both Israel and the United States, the failure of politics on the left, must take at least a bit of the blame for what's happening at the peaks of government.

The pathos of Donald Trump owes as much to the problems of the Democratic party as to his electoral skills — to do no better than two baggage-laden 70-year-olds as the finalists was one problem. And — over the years — to lose the white working class base of the Democratic party also contributed to Trump's victory. 

Hillary's email and the mess in Libya while she was secretary of state didn't help her. And speeches that reached my ears indicated more concern with LGBTs than rust belt cities and their unemployed inhabitants.

Her emphasis may warm hearts among fashionable leftists, but it lacks the arithmetic important to an election campaign.

The result is a president who thinks that arming teachers is wiser than controlling guns.

The guns are too deep in American culture and politics for the country to come anywhere close to civilization, but the current occupant of the White House doesn't even qualify as someone likely to make things a bit better. 

 
The carnage in Florida produced a situation where — so far in 2018 — more American Jews have died on account of the second amendment than Israelis have died from Palestinian terror.

Tax and trade policies are more complex, but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the me-first businessman has appealed to the scuzzier of Republican roots to make things better for those who already have it good.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


That his postures on guns, taxes and trade seem likely to hurt his voters leaves us cynics with the feeling that America will get what it deserves.


Already, Europeans and Canadians are threatening to retaliate against those American industries still profitable.

If the Democratic party and its left-of-center inclinations has not done the dirty work, it is guilty of not recognizing the potential and moving toward the right or better serving the mass of its traditional voters, i.e., where the votes are.

Leftist foreign policy has been no better. Barack Obama's Nobel-winning speech in Cairo was an admirable expression of democratic values, but it was given in a setting where it showed the president's naivete. Obama upset Egyptian and Saudi allies of the US, and deserves at least part of the blame for Arab Winter that undercut cruel but effective regimes in Syria and Libya. Obama reformed neither country, and may have contributed to as many deaths and dislocations as did George W. Bush's foolishness in Iraq.

Both Bush and Obama deserve equal responsibility for their misplaced aspirations to reform Afghanistan, the waste of huge expenditures and many deaths, of Americans and others. 

Israel's picture is both similar and different. 

It's similar in that the weakness of the left that has given us assurance of a right-of-center government, despite substantial indications of corruption at the top. 

Recent polls show 50 percent or more saying that Bibi Netanyahu should resign, but about one third (more than received by any other candidate or party) saying that he and his party would be the best choices if an election were held today.

That would be enough to ensure Bibi the leadership of the next coalition if the police and prosecutors don't move more quickly.

Israel's left has suffered from an excessive leaning toward what is internationally popular, i.e., doing something to create a Palestinian state, while much of the country has lost all hope for anything close to that.
 
Mahmoud Abbas is Bibi's strongest supporter. Abbas's continued claim of traditional, fixed and unachievable Palestinian aims, along with encouraging violence and paying pensions to the families of those who murder Israelis, reinforces the considerable distrust of Palestinians that makes Likud and its right wing allies the most likely victors in an election.

Substantial numbers of Israelis believe Bibi's assertion that he and his family are the targets of a witch hunt by leftist media and irresponsible police.

A left-of-center party has not won enough seats in the Knesset to form a government since the election of 1999. Recent polls show the left of center, largely Jewish parties (Zionist Union and Meretz) in the range of 18-22 seats, while parties clearly on the right (Likud, Jewish Home, Israel Our Home and the ultra-Orthodox) are polling 56-63 seats.


Most Israeli Arabs vote for parties, currently aligned under the heading of Joint List, that provide a caricature of leftist impotence. While several of the List's 14 MKs join with Jewish MKs on particular issues, the Joint List as a whole generally negates its potential for influence by chronic opposition to those in power. Several of its MKs have been at the edge, or over the edge, of challenging the legitimacy of Israel's existence.

Given the deliberations shown by Israeli prosecutors and judges, there may be no final resolution to the allegations about Netanyahu, his wife and his friends until the next election, which not come before 2019, or maybe the election after that, perhaps in 2023.

Prediction is foolhardy in political settings where small events can become major. At the present time, however, it appears that both Americans and Israelis will be stuck for some time with incompetence (US) or corruption (Israel), while left-of-center critics in both countries continue with the rhetoric that can't win elections.

Congressional elections later this year in the US may give a hint of what might happen in 2020. Israeli optimists can hope that reports from the police with respect to scandals in communications (Case 4000), submarines (Case 3000) and a new development alleging the offer of a key judiciary appointment in exchange for closing the file on Sara Netanyahu might tilt enough of the public and coalition politicians to end Bibi's career before 2023.

Comments welcome

--
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
irashark@gmail.com 
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share