By Yen Makabenta | The Manila Times
WITH Election Day only 38 days away, it is generally acknowledged by most people (except those who are still hoping for a Hail Mary pass) that Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio will almost certainly be elected as the next president and vice president of the Philippines, with their terms of office to commence on June 30, 2022.
This election prognosis is greeted with approval because every pre-election survey by opinion research firms that have bee tracking Philippine elections in this century has reported their finding that Marcos is leading the presidential race with some 60 to 64 percent of voter preferences, and his closest rival some 40 to 45 percent behind.
In the vice presidential race, the research findings are more or less the same. Sara Duterte is leading the candidates field with nearly 60 percent of voter preferences. In virtually every place where Marcos leads widely she also leads by a mile.
Individually, Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte have always been the subject of much speculation and ardent support in regard to 2022. As a tandem for the May election, they have become a virtually invincible force. No political party or coalition can challenge them today. They have dominated the campaign ever since they announced their team-up. They swamped the surveys when the BBM-Sara UniTeam coalition was formed.
Coattails to victory
With BBM-Sara riding the crest of a wave toward the election and with victory in sight, the foremost question being asked now is whether Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte have the coattails to carry the entire BBM-Sara UniTeam ticket to victory.
This is not an idle conjecture.
Marcos from the start built his bid for the presidency on the idea of forming a coalition of distinct parties and groups of people who could join him in a campaign for national regeneration and renewal through the provision of new leadership and governance.
He chose and embraced early "unity" as the theme for his campaign because he believed that without unity, the national enterprise will only fail. Indeed, BBM already spoke of unity during his frustrated bid for the vice presidency in 2016.
It was fortuitous that the people responded early and enthusiastically to the news of Bongbong's bid for the presidency. Apart from the general public perception that BBM was cheated of victory by the Noynoy Aquino government through the use of Smartmatic technology and massive rigging of the results, there is also a very strong current of nostalgia and support for the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his 20-year presidency and the creditable record of his New Society program.
BBM found a kindred spirit in his idea of national renewal in the young leader, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Given their common record of leadership and experience in local government, they found an affinity in their politics.
It was inevitable that some would view them as an ideal ticket for the May election. It was gracious of Sara to yield to the older Marcos as the presidential standard bearer, with her as running-mate. That made the merger of political plans propitious.
They were joined quickly by other leaders and other groups who also wanted to play an important part in the 2022 elections.
The coalition ticket that has been formed runs the whole gamut of the general election, fielding a full complement of candidates for both houses of Congress, and for local governments across the entire archipelago.
It is in this light that many ask whether the electoral appeal and strength of the BBM-Sara tandem can be transferred to the entire UniTeam ticket so as to ensure the victory of other candidates in the down ballot, and to achieve for the coalition majorities in the houses of Congress.
According to William Safire in his unrivaled reference guide, Political Dictionary (Random House, New York, 1972), "Coattails denotes political carrying power, the ability to attract and hold support, not only for oneself but for other members of a ticket."
He wrote that Abraham Lincoln while still a congressman popularized the term in a speech in the House on July 27, 1848, after the metaphor had been introduced by Afred Ivron of Georgia.
In the election encyclopedia, Elections from A to Z, John l. Moore described coattails as follows: "A popular candidate who sweeps other candidates to victory along with him or her is said to have 'long political coattails'." Congressional and state candidates might ride the coattails of a strong presidential candidate.
In1980, Moore wrote, the coattail effect of Ronald Reagan's popularity helped Republicans win a majority in the Senate for the first time since 1955.
So then we ask, do Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte-Carpio with their near rock-star popularity and exceptional campaign organization, have the coattails to sweep their UniTeam ticket to victory? Yes, they have.