110 days to the US election
FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras (The Freeman) - July 14, 2020 - 12:00am

The US elections will be in November 3 this year and that is 110 days away. The new or re-elected president will be sworn in on January 20, but the outgoing president usually defers to the incoming president in the exercise of power in the remaining days. For all intents and purposes the outgoing president’s term and influence ends on November 4. Trump is running for re-election for a second term as a Republican and Biden is running as the Democrat party nominee.

The US elections is important for most countries in the world because the US is a superpower nation that has the largest military arsenal and the biggest economy. It trades with almost all the countries and is the largest importer and exporter. It is also the democratic ideological leader of the free world, and for decades was the beacon of the free world’s ideals of liberty, equality, and justice. It also attracts the most immigrants from countries all over the world in search of better lives and freedom. All countries have nationals that have migrated to the US. The result of the US elections will matter to many countries.

The Philippines has particularly close relations with the US because of historical ties as a former US colony for 40 years. The Philippine political and judicial system is patterned after the US, and the democratic institutions are very similar. The US is also the biggest foreign investor, trading partner, and contributor to the Philippine economy for the last 70 years. They have provided the most foreign aid in the same number of years. It is not surprising that out of the 11 million Filipinos who are earning a living outside of the Philippines, seven million are in the US as dual citizens, migrants, or illegal workers. At this time when the world is undergoing social, political, and economic upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and geo-political maneuvers/re-alignments, the changing of political leaders in the US will have major significant implications to the country.

China’s incursion into the territorial waters of the Philippines and China’s influence in Philippine politics and economy will be affected if the Democrats take control of the US Presidency and the Senate. So would be the tenor and policies of the current Philippine government on governance, especially on human rights and accountability. By the time a re-elected or new US president is sworn into office, the current Philippine elected officials will have 18 months to go with all congressmen and half of the senators going for election or re-election, and with new presidential candidates. Coming out of a devastated economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 will be politically unpredictable for many politicians. The fate of Filipinos in the US will also be compromised by the outcome of the US elections as their status, earning potential and remittances to relatives in the Philippines will be affected as 65% of OFW remittances to the country come from the US

As to who will win the US Presidency 110 days from now, the polls are now showing a 56% vs. 44% lead by Biden over Trump. Trump is saddled with his handling of the COVID pandemic and its economic effects, racism, and immigration issues, and legal issues on his taxes and personal behavior. The counter actions against China’s geo-political overreach in Hong Kong, the South China Sea and other countries will be the same under Biden or Trump, but alliances and cooperation with Europe and other countries will be better with Biden as US president. A Biden presidency would likely be a more ethical, moral, and democratic presidency in the US and globally, which is probably what the world needs at this time.

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