I am not a political expert and the following are just thoughts I’d like to share with you. U.S. and Philippine political systems draw similarities, but the two-party system of the US makes things more complicated for me because of “state votes.” Yes, I will study US politics later so you won’t judge me again. Hope you would leave comments!
I watched a Donald Trump special on the History Channel earlier, detailing his rise from the son of a rich man to one of the most recognizable names in US History. At present, he is a Republican candidate for the presidency of the country and is continually topping polls for nomination.
As I watched his journey so far as a serious presidential candidate, I thought of one of our own presidential candidates: Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Similarities could be drawn from a visual and media perspective: their popularity as candidates is fueled by their inconsideration of the traditional view.
One of the first issues Donald Trump faced upon his announcement of candidacy was that of immigrant discrimination. Citing the influx of Mexicans into the US, Mr. Trump expresses his disgust that majority of immigrants are either drug pushers, rapists, or, to put it plainly, criminals, “and some are good.” Of course, comments like this that aren’t “politically correct” would be opposed and consequently, make some groups aggressive. However, as expressed in the documentary, his poll popularity was fueled because of candid expression of his belief and the need of the people for a leader who says what he wants to say.
In this aspect, the Duterte parallel could be observed clearly. Mayor Duterte has been encouraged by the masses to continue his run for the top position of the Philippines initially for his good governance and administration of Davao City, a major metropolitan area in the country. As the public courting progressed, Mayor Duterte’s straightforward and unconventional statements on issues of politics, peace and order, and personality has made daily headlines and conversations. His controversial way of dealing with criminals in Davao that he plans to apply to the whole country gives the weary citizens of the Philippines hope in the iron hand.
A similar case has filled my mind in 2010, and has came back to me now.
In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama, with his Democrat statement “Yes, We Can!” captured the attention of the US and the world. The potential of a new kind of leadership from who could be the first African-American President of the US was a refreshed situation. Two years after, the Philippines had a parallel man: then-Senator Benigno Simeon “NoyNoy” Aquino III. Son of two heroes of democracy in the Philippines, the future President was not even on the top of the list of his party as candidate. But, due to the emotional impact of the death of his mother, the clamor of the populace was loud and his party grabbed the opportunity; the then-standard bearer stepped aside for the more winnable candidate. President Obama and President Aquino both won, shining a light towards great futures for their governments.
Here again, in 2016, the parallel of two political systems has happened. Trump and Duterte, two leaders with strong minds and wills that either are not afraid to speak and impose, are popular, and their respective races are theirs to lose. A couple of months from now, the result would be had. Could popularity hand over the presidency to the “controversial” men again?