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Super Monday and Tuesday Surprises

I watched from Israel last week’s chaotic Democratic Debate, before Saturday’s South Carolina’s primary and Super Tuesday, where the contentious political campaigning for last Monday’s third Israeli election in a year, sounded much like the Democratic contenders charges and counter-claims.

It was ugly in both countries political trenches.

Both elections surprising results reminded me of how and why free elections are the heart of the democratic system in which private citizens must reign supreme and their right to vote freely must be respected, no matter how surprising and unwanted the results!

Monday’s Israeli election handed indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a surprising victory. His Likud Party won 36 seats, which together with other right-wing and religious parties has 58 parliament seats, three short of a majority. While Netanyahu tries to cobble together a government of 61 members, he goes on trial on March 17 after being charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s main opposition, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party won 32 seats, that together with the anti-Netanyahu block has 54 to 55 parliament seats.

The secular nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu won seven seats and its leader Avigdor Lieberman can be the kingmaker, just as he was in the last two elections last April and September. But Avigdor says he will only join a unity government as he has ruled out cooperation with the ultra-Orthodox parties allied with Netanyahu and the Arab parties aligned with Gantz.

The next couple of weeks will be interesting to watch messy Israeli politics to see what government, if any can, will come together because the thought of a fourth election is unbearable. More surprises should not be surprising.

The results of Super Tuesday’s Democratic primaries in 14 states across America also delivered a stunning surprise. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s dying campaign, was unexpectedly propelled to victory by his suprising 30 point win in South Carolina over Senator Sanders, and the other contenders, forcing three to throw in the towel, two of whom turned around and endorsed Biden, along with former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke — and a flood of other Democratic Party endorsements nationwide. That gave Biden unprecedented political momentum that propelled him to a stunning victory in at least nine states, even states where he did not campaign or have a ground presence. As a result, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped out and Senator Elizabeth Warren is contemplating her next move.

Monday’s Israeli election and Super Tuesday’s Democratic Primaries in the U.S. were a surprising refreshing reminder, that in true democracies citizens freely decide who is best suited to represent and lead them. And today, not surprisingly, thanks to social media, many wait to the last minute to decide. Rightly or wrongly.

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