US Elections 101, for Filipinos
Posted by butalidnl on 21 March 2012
The US election process is well under way, with the Republican primaries becoming a fierce battle between four candidates. It is sometimes difficult to follow and understand the process, especially if you are a Filipino thousands of kilometers away. But the US elections could be easily explained to Filipinos.
It all boils down to putting Filipino faces on the main candidates.
Mitt Romney‘s equivalent will be Manny Villar. Like Romney, Villar is quite rich, and they both used their own money to finance their campaigns. Both claimed that since they were businessmen, they knew how to run the economy.
Rick Santorum. His Filipino equivalent would be Brother Eddie Villaneuva. They are both conservative Catholics, for whom a conservative stand social issues is important.
Newt Gingrich. His Filipino equivalent is Jose De Venecia. Both have been speakers of the House of Representatives, and are experts in the art of making political deals.
Ron Paul. His Filipino equivalent would be Raul Roco. Both men attract a loyal but relatively small following on the basis of rather sensible policy proposals. Unfortunately, they do not appeal to the broader masses, since their message is more intellectual than emotional.
Barack Obama. He is the only one so far who is sure of really running in the November elections. His Filipino equivalent would be Noynoy Aquino. They have both run based on the emotional appeal for better government: Obama with “Yes we can.”, and Noynoy with “Kung walang korupt, walang mahirap.” People are ready to forgive their policy mishaps because they like them as persons.
The big difference between US and Philippine elections is mostly in terms of scale (the US is a much bigger country) and the state of technology.
Elections in the US are held every 2 years, and Philippine elections every 3 years. The presidential elections in the US is every 4 years, and every 6 years for the Philippines. In the US, a sitting president could run for a second 4-year term; in the Philippines, the president gets only one full 6-year term.
In the US, when there is more than one person vying to be his/her party’s candidate for president, then they would have primaries to determine which one would run. In the Philippines, candidates have a wide choice as to which party they could run for. Usually, there are more than two parties that field presidential candidates.
Going back to the Republican race: just imagine Manny Villar competing against Brother Eddie Villaneuva, Jose De Venecia and Raul Roco. Who do you think will win? I will put my money on Villar winning that slugging match, with Bro Eddie as second (with the support of the Catholic Church hierarchy). And viola! – this is similar to what is happening in the uS – with Romney leading, followed by Santorum.
It isn’t too difficult to understand, after all.