Benjamin Netanyahu reaches the groveling stage in his downfall – and Donald Trump should take note of what’s coming next

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who is unpopular with his own people, and who is in the process of being criminally indicted – did poorly enough in this past week’s election, he’s on the verge of being ousted. So what’s he doing about it? Netanyahu has now reached the groveling stage. His close ally Donald Trump should be paying close attention to what comes next.

The Israeli government is built around several political parties, and it’s difficult for any one of them to win a majority, so after the election the parties start trying to form coalitions with each other in order to create a governing majority. Benjamin Netanyahu’s party didn’t come close to a majority, and for obvious reasons, none of the other parties are willing to partner with the increasingly radioactive Netanyahu. If the other parties end up combining to form a majority, Netanyahu will be out on his butt.

That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see stories surface this week that Netanyahu is offering to walk away from politics altogether if he’s given a pardon by whoever takes power. Netanyahu is denying that he’s seeking a pardon, but you’d probably deny it too if you were in his shoes. He’s essentially begging not to be sent to prison, while perhaps implying that he’ll refuse to leave office peacefully if he’s not pardoned.

That’s cute and all, but nothing works that way. If the opposition parties do form a ruling coalition against him, Netanyahu will have zero leverage. If it becomes official that he’s no longer Prime Minister, and he tries to magically remain in office, law enforcement will simply drag him out by his heels so the new Prime Minister can move in. Netanyahu is holding a proverbial gun to his own head, and threatening to pull the trigger unless he’s given assurances that he’s not going to prison.

If Netanyahu’s party somehow manages to form a governing coalition, or if the other parties fail to form a coalition of their own and they end up having to hold yet another election, then Netanyahu won’t have actually lost this election – and we’ll be looking at an entirely different story. Israel’s electoral system is complicated enough to create this kind of post-election, pre-coalition uncertainty, even without the specter of the sitting Prime Minister being indicted. But it’s telling that Netanyahu is already fishing around for a pardon.

Meanwhile back in the United States, for all the electoral college absurdity, the cold reality of the American two party system is that you either win the presidential election or you lose it, with nothing in between. If Donald Trump loses in 2020, there will be no post-election opportunity for him to form a coalition with an opposition to remain in power. He’ll simply be out. On inauguration day, the new president will be sworn in whether Trump is there or not, and Trump will legally cease to be president, even if he’s still hiding under the desk in the Oval Office. If he refuses to leave, law enforcement will simply drag him out. It’ll merely speed up his arrest by a few minutes, before the folks standing outside the White House with the arrest warrant from New York can get to him.

Benjamin Netanyahu will have essentially zero leverage if he’s named the loser of this election. He’ll leave the Prime Minister’s office, voluntarily or otherwise, and law enforcement will carry forward with his criminal indictment. If Donald Trump loses the 2020 election, he’ll have even less leverage than Netanyahu. It’ll simply be over for him, on every level. Trump should pay close attention to Netanyahu’s downfall. Then Trump should remind himself that he’s facing the same fate, and he should start trying to negotiate a resignation plea deal.

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