Malaya - Dry run

News & Interviews
9 November 2020

By Jose Bayani Baylon | Malaya

‘…it’s time for all Pinoys to take a breather and relax and wait for 2022. Which is just around the corner, and which may come even ahead of Donald Trump’s concession speech!’

IT’S amazing how many Filipinos (myself included) got caught up in the drama that was the US presidential elections – posting, Tweeting, commenting, even arguing with and insulting those who were of a different opinion.

I’m sure many also placed bets, as I did when a colleague from Coca-Cola dared me early this year to wager $200 on the outcome. And while he echoed Donald Trump’s claims of fraud, he was gentleman enough to ask for my bank details so he could pay up. But I told him that since he was now a fresh Juris Doctor degree holder and will soon be providing free legal aid to indigent Filipinos then I was donating the $200 to that cause.

I have an excuse for being so involved. First, I’ve been fascinated with US presidential elections since I was in grade school. And that’s why I took up political science in college.

Being a Kennedy fan made me even more of a student of US elections history, three contests in particular: 1960 – when John was the Democratic Party nominee and defeated then-Vice President Richard Nixon in a hotly contested fight that came down to the electoral votes of Illinois; 1968 – when Robert sought the Party nomination but was assassinated in Los Angeles after winning the California primary, and 1980 – when Edward tried to deny incumbent President Jimmy Carter the nomination, and became partly the reason why Carter subsequently lost his re-election bid to former California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Heck, I even brought a girlfriend to the Thomas Jefferson Library in November 1984 for an anniversary “date” – which was to watch the Reagan-Mondale election results come in, live. Happily for me she found it interesting herself.

And since 2004 I’ve always tried to make it a point to be in the United States during Election Day – with the bitterest experience being in 2016, when Donald Trump “stole” the votes of Hillary Clinton. Hahaha. Hmmph.

This year I planned to be there again but two things kept me away: one, the coronavirus. And two, my brother’s admonition that my presence “might jinx” the chances of Joe Biden. So that’s why I stayed home, and that’s why Biden won. And that’s also why the President-elect owes me and owes me big time.

But I digress.

So many Filipinos have been caught up in this drawn-out drama, and that’s good. Why?

Because I see it as a dry run for our own elections in 2022. The partisanship. The deep divisions. The insults. The trolls. The fake news. And yes, the accusations of electoral fraud. Joe Biden and Donald Trump just gave all of us a reason to practice our lines.

Not that we need practice – if electoral machines like those of the late Mayor Richard Daley were said to have delivered votes on Election Day (especially 1960) for preferred candidates, we have long raised that to an art form in the Philippines and today call it “dagdag-bawas,” which some say means “Smartmatic” in English.

So now that Pennsylvania has been called and Nevada too, and maybe Arizona next, it’s time for all Pinoys to take a breather and relax and wait for 2022. Which is just around the corner, and which may come even ahead of Donald Trump’s concession speech!