THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
“Who do you think would win – Trump or Biden?”
“What do you think of the US elections – has it started to resemble Philippine elections?”
“If you were an American, would you go Republican or Democrat in this election?”
“What’s at stake for us in this election?”
Those were some of the messages I got from friends and colleagues in the local government sector. The 2020 United States presidential elections is just a little more than a week away. The proximity of the date seems to have fueled a growing interest among Filipinos on the conduct and outcome of this exercise.
We have closely watched US presidential elections in the past. These contests are well-documented and the excitement has been captured well in books and videos that are now available online. The campaign for what is called “the most powerful office on earth” is made of thriller novel stuff.
Those who closely observe the campaigns have their eyes on the strategists, the image-makers, the message spinners, the stylists, the speechwriters, and other members of what we believe is a cabal of experts who “create” the candidate.
“Packaging” the candidate – that’s what it is called.
If such teams are still at work in this particular US election, some of our friends joke that “Filipino political strategists must have been included.” We believe the joke stemmed from observations that the 2020 contest for the White House has been less civil compared to past elections.
There have also been certain elements in the political battle that have never been heard of in US elections. For example, this seems to be the first time that the very credibility of the election process was put in question by a candidate. This also appears to be the first time that certain quarters worried over speculations that the sitting president may not accept a possible defeat in the polls.
Observers also point out that attacks on the person of the candidate seemed to have the upper hand in this campaign, overshadowing the usual sober discussion of the issues that truly matter to American voters.
They summed the contest as being about “character,” making many wonder if party platform would matter less in the 2020 US presidential polls.
We do not have any basis to make a prediction as to who would win: the incumbent or the challenger. We are also sympathetic to neither Republicans and Democrats. In other words, we have no genuine interest in the politics of the US Presidential election.
We may have valid interests in the conduct and outcome.
We hope that this particular election would not damage or put into question the soundness of the American democratic system. We hope that this election would prove once again that choosing leaders in an atmosphere of robust democracy works. After all, our democracy is patterned after the American model. The logic is simple: if the system continues to work well for them, it will continue to serve us as well.
We also hope that the use of character assassination would not demolish the dignity and credibility of whoever wins the US presidential election. No matter how one feels about the United States of America, the fact remains that a US president remains to be considered the leader of the free world. The free world needs a leader who has both dignity and credibility.
We also hope that the US elections on November 3 will come to a quick conclusion and a winner declared right away. We also hope that the winner could be inaugurated and assume office at the usual date of the traditional turnover of the US presidency.
Political chaos in the US could create negative ripples all over the world. It could affect stock markets, trade and commerce, and geopolitical stability. We wish the same thing that most Americans are praying for – for this political season to be over soon.
The next US president will oversee the rebuilding of his country in the aftermath of the pandemic. We have an interest in how that rebuilding process will be done – how and how much the US government will be investing to get businesses and enterprises back on their feet. Our economy is still tied to that of the US, after all.
Our hope for a quick and peaceful conclusion to the 2020 US presidential election also stems from our sentimental ties with the American people. Despite the setback in our bilateral relations, the American people remain our friends.
Friends wish each other only the best.
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