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Mar 17, 2021

Bennett's real problem with elections

Bennett's problem, I think, is that he has no natural ideological base.

Almost every party in Israel has a natural base of voters - UTJ has the Litvishe and Hassidic Haredim, Shas has the Sefardic Haredim and the traditional Sefardim, Likud has the traditional and right wing/center liberals, Habayit Hayehudi no longer really exists but they used to have the National Religious, and Smotritch has a portion of that as well. Even Itamar Ben Gvir has his natural more extreme rightists base. On the Left it is a little less obvious, but they aren't ruling parties any longer. Labor was a founding party and has its center left base. Meretz has its extreme left base. Yesh Atid is a more center-left base of voters, perhaps usurping what Labor used to be. The Arab parties have the Arab populations.

What is Bennett? Who does Bennett appeal to? 

Bennett is a good candidate with good [and maybe some bad] ideas. But he has no base. He isn't Habayit Hayehudi representing the National Religious, as he left them, even though he wears a knitted kipa and is National Religious to some extent himself. he isn't Likud with a long term right wing base of voters. He is not Smotritch representing the "Chardal and more hard core "Settler" and NR communities. 

Bennett has no natural base of voters. People who vote for Bennett, for the most part, seem to be people whose base was one of the other parties but over time became disenfranchised with the party and failed to find another political home and maybe like his ideas.

The problem with that type of electorate is that they are subject to the last minute swings, the gevalt campaigns so to speak. All those voters who support Bennett for months who feel bad at the last minute that their natural party is struggling and worried. They get played on by the original party, their wagons get circled, they feel bad, and many of them at the last minute find a reason to go back to their own party, just "this one last time", to help. Because of Lieberman's hate or because of the threat to the right or because of  the need to protect Judaism, or other threats.

I think this is why Bennett can poll pretty well for months leading up to an election and then at the last minutes loses much of his support. 

And the same is true, for the most part of Gideon Saar, and Benny Gantz. Saar was taking mostly the disenfranchised Likudniks. But as time goes on and as the elections get closer, they are mostly going back to the Likud. Saar, as an independent party, has no natural base to lean on. Benny Gantz as well. He split from Yesh Atid and has no natural base to lean on. His recent supporters no longer see a need to support him, and maybe many of those originally were there as part of his union with Yesh Atid which disintegrated after the last elections and not there for him specifically.

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  1. Sure he's got a base. Religious Zionists who aren't over on the "kav" end of things, which is a good 15% or so of the Jewish population, plus the more religious of the masoratim, which is almost 20% of the Jewish population, plus strong right-wingers. That's about 40% at least. Obviously most of those won't vote for him, but it still leaves him a base of at least 10% or so of the population.

  2. I dont think so. Sure he gets some of them to vote for him, but that's not his base. That is the Mafdal base, the Bayit Yehudi base. I dont think he has really qualified to taking that over. Again, he gets some of their votes, but that isnt a base. These people could just as easily vote for Smotritch or Likud (or Saar) as for Bennett.


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