Articles > > Bad Polling News

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2020-07-15
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

Public opinion polls in Israel and the U.S. no longer augur good news for Trump and Netanyahu.
Just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the two men believed that they had reserved their seats in power and were preparing for another term. Netanyahu did indeed enter his fifth term – albeit burdened with the terms of his alliance with [alternate PM] Gantz, which he is striving diligently to free himself from – while Trump was happy with his competitor Biden's feeble, faltering performance.
Today, the picture looks different. The polls have gone from predicting 4-5 additional seats for Netanyahu and Likud compared to the March 2020 elections, to subtracting from the man's balance due to his clumsy performance in contending with the coronavirus. Trump fell into the same trap ahead of him, and, for the first time since his initial campaign, is no longer confident of a sweeping victory.
Of what concern is all this to us? Why are we so passionately invested in following the developments over the next four months?
Some observers believe that the two men's deteriorating electoral standing and diminishing prospects of remaining in power will drive them to walk back the [West Bank] annexation decision. The proponents of this perspective argue that they both have enough problems and priorities without thinking about opening new fronts that could put paid to their last chance to stay in office.
To lend credibility to their view, this school cites the fact that the July 1st [annexation] deadline came and went without Netanyahu getting the required green light from Trump or daring to make his move unilaterally. According to this school, annexation is now a thing of the past, and some even say the [Trump administration's] 'deal of the century' is over and that a new leaf has been turned.
But another school of observers and analysts believes that another scenario is not unlikely. For his part, Netanyahu seems to be in a rush to enact annexation to compensate for his failure to contain the pandemic, in the hope of galvanizing Israeli right-wing sentiment, especially since the votes he has lost according to the polls did not go to the left-wing or center, but to right-wing forces that are even more radical than both Netanyahu and Likud.
As for Trump, some say he has personal stake in the annexation and is in desperate need of it, and that he may not hesitate to encourage Netanyahu's government to time the implementation of the postponed step at the same time or shortly before the elections, and, as always, with a similar goal: That of fueling the sentiments of the Zionist evangelical right-wing, which is the cornerstone of his electoral base. In other words, the Israeli right-wing's honeymoon with its U.S. populist right-wing counterpart is not yet over, and it is premature to publish the sinister deal's obituary.
This scenario must be continuously borne in mind as nations and peoples make plans to contend with worst-case scenarios. It is moot if matters turn out better than expected, but if not, they will be prepared to face the gravest dangers and challenges.
Many of us in power and governance as well as among the public indulge in wishful thinking, favoring the scenario of the Netanyahu government's collapse and Trump's downfall. Indeed, both men will not be mourned, but lest we forget, such a prospect may not be likely, let alone certain.
Then there are those who say that their replacements will be far better. If Netanyahu leaves office, the far-right will still be around to inherit it, and when it comes to Joe Biden, no one believes he will turn back the clock to before the U.S. embassy was transferred to Jerusalem, or even restore the Clinton Parameters.
That option appears to be behind us.