Even the Likud Party didn't see this coming.
The Israeli elections took a dramatic turn in the early morning hours on Wednesday as official tallies from nearly all precincts indicate that Likud has opened up a significant lead over Zionist Union, a far cry from the virtual dead heat that television exit polls had reported Tuesday evening.With nearly 95 percent of precincts reporting before dawn on Wednesday, the Likud has emerged as the clear, undisputed victor in the elections.According to the official up-to-the-minute tally, Likud wins 29 seats while Zionist Union comes in second at 24 seats.[Israeli elections take dramatic turn as official tally gives Likud sweeping victory, Jerusalem Post, March 18, 2015]
What happened? Netanyahu doubled down on his hardliner image in the final days, even to the point of saying there would be "no Palestinian state" if he was elected.
There may be important ramifications in American politics. Netanyahu's break with the Obama Administration is now common knowledge, and having essentially run on the platform of "I will not be restrained by America or anyone else," he has no reason to try to heal the breach. The Republican Party, fanatic nationalists that they are (for Israel), are currently investigating the Obama Administration for allegedly trying to interfere with the outcome of the Israeli elections. And Obama's foreign policy will definitely be complicated by a newly emboldened Netanyahu calling for strikes on Iran. He might even do it himself.
Of course, the political lesson here is obvious. The media always underestimates the willingness of people to support a leader who actually supports them.
The Israelis have Netanyahu. Who do we have?