(March 13, 2019 / JNS) What began as a trickle has now become a steady flow: Blue and White is losing ground in the polls. Internal polling shows this as well.
This has not been lost on the campaign operatives running the former Israel Defense Forces’ generals at the helm of the Blue and White candidate list; in recent days, they have resorted to guerrilla warfare.
This change of tactics shows above all just how panicked they are: The intense response matches the unfavorable poll numbers.
Last week, when Blue and White still had flattering poll numbers, its four leading candidates looked like they were having the time of their lives, as if they were soldiers on leave.
Now they look exhausted, like newly conscripted soldiers in boot camp. Only several days ago, they were touring the Golan Heights, grabbing some falafel and joking around. This week they are walking upright, their weapons cocked, and their eyes looking through the crosshairs and aiming for a shot.
When Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz first launched his bid, he opted for a “campaign of silence,” which was confusing but worked. But this tactic could not last long, and his message got lost.
If he doesn’t change things around, the campaign will implode, and he will continue to shed support to Labor, Meretz and even Zehut, which defines itself as very right-wing but also very libertarian. If he continues to lose ground, Gantz might even have to (God forbid) actually sit down for an interview and answer questions.
A month is a long time in politics, and what was considered the next big thing last week can become just a flash in the pan overnight. Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been prime minister for the past 10 years, has managed to run a much more disciplined campaign than his rivals at Blue and White.
The fact that he has managed to make them descend from Mount Olympus and humble them, as well as make them actually engage in a nonstop tit-for-tat, underscores how focused his campaign is.
Gantz and his team wanted to herald a new era of “clean politics,” but this has gone out the window as their political star power has dimmed.
If Blue and White continues to lose momentum, it might have to use the old tactic of courting voters from other center-left parties, hoping this would increase the likelihood of becoming the largest party in the 21st Knesset.
This could make them break heavily to the left, something they have tried to avoid, but they might not have any other choice.
Mati Tuchfeld writes for Israel Hayom.