There is a poll showing Oprah trumping Donald in a presidential election.

Gevalt x 2

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Both Oprah and Donald have their champions.


She fits the Obama model for personal appeal and power of expression. And she'll get the super turnout that he did from African Americans.

We hear that she has done much for the underprivileged. Some say she's a friend of Israel. Some say she's a better friend of Palestinians.

Donald can claim that the New York Stock Exchange has climbed by more than 25 percent since his election, along with low unemployment and decent projections of economic growth. Detractors say the numbers only continue the trends put in place by Obama, and that we're overdue for a bursting bubble.. Those of us with an interest in Israel can applaud his realism with respect to Jerusalem, the Palestinians, and UNRWA.

But we're hard pressed to come up with an American President who has been less articulate and more bizarre in what he says and writes.

We can go on forever listing the assets and liabilities of Oprah and Donald. But heavy in the negatives, for both, is a lack of governmental experience or knowledge of distant--and not so distant--places.

Presidential primaries, which reward popular support hyped with enormous expenditures on pizzazz, can't match the testing of a parliamentary system that brings to the top individuals who have been tested and advanced from lower to higher positions over the years by politically experienced colleagues.

The sentiments of this note won't make sense for those who don't recognize the importance of politics as a profession, where the probability of skill comes with experience and the filtering of aspirants by professional colleagues.

We must be realistic. There's a long tradition of reformers who would replace the US presidency with a parliamentary democracy. 

That ain't gonna happen.

Well established, and not about to go away, are norms that support unfettered democracy. Each voter is equal. They can choose what they want.

By the same criteria, people should forget licensed physicians, and go to grandma to cure what hurts.

Political skill is not acquired by long and systematic training and licensing as are medicine, law, engineering et al. However, the combination of elections with the screening by experienced colleagues seems worth more than open elections where the selection depends of the money flowing to those who look and sound good.

It's one thing for a high school senior class to select its president by a popularity contest. It's another thing when the same procedure is used to choose the leader of a country--especially when the result fills the world's--most powerful position.

Alas, the fate of the world is in the hands American voters. And while the US is among the richest of countries, and the most powerful militar with some great universities, hospitals, and laboratories, the people, as a whole, aren't so great.

Trump's comment about a shithole country applies to much of the USA.

Its population leads the western world in poor health, violence, and incarceration, with high scores on drug use and teenage pregnancy. For many of its schools, sport is more highly valued than than academics.

What the American popularity contests get is the morality of JFK and Bill Clinton, the ignorance of foreign policy shown by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and the crowning boor of them all, currently Tweeting his way to Presidential decisions.

Yair Netanyahu, the son of, is no prize, but at least he is not in the driver's seat.

And pity the Palestinians, led by a cadre of 80 year olds who cannot restrain their outlandish pronouncements that bear no connection with realities. They have little support, as shown by Palestinian opinion polls. Mahmoud Abbas remains in office nine years after the expiration of his term, and may accomplish nothing more than to provoke individuals to kill and meet their own deaths.

For Americans it ain't as bad as it could be. Iraqis and Syrians are paying the biggest price for the ignorance of of GW Bush and Obama. Americans above the line with respect to opportunities get decent medical care, and feel safe in their communities.

We can thank the founders for the separation of powers, and developments since Woodrow Wilson for an expanded White House and Executive Branch that compensates for much of the incompetence in the Oval Office.

The history and culture of the US protects its well heeled citizens from the person they elect. Free enterprise prevails there more so than in any other western democracy. The rich can get what they want, and bugger the rest of 'em. And buggered they are, with a shorter life span--by recent data getting even shorter--than in any other country with a claim of being decent.

And how many Americans care what happens to those the British used to call the "wogs," i.e., people like Israelis and others, of a different skin shade, and living far from the homeland?

Comments welcome 
-- 
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
irashark@gmail.com
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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.

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