Complicated life

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

The first and only time I visited the United States was in 1992. I represented the Philippines in an International Visitor Program participated by 16 other mid-level editors from as many countries invited by the US government. It was a month-long program and 1992 being an election year, I made sure I won't go home without understanding what in heavens is the US electoral system about.

Maybe I was really zeroed in on trying to nail it that when I did I was surprised by how simple it was. Looking back, I now think what confounds people coming to grips with the US electoral vote system is how such a simple easy to understand system can make the election result so complicated and difficult.

I was talking about this over afternoon coffee with Arlene a few days ago as 2024 will be a presidential election year in the US again. I joked to her about why the Philippines never got around to becoming a state of the US. During overtures for statehood, the Americans tried explaining the electoral vote. MLQ looked at SOS and said: " I'd rather have the Philippines run like hell ....."

The electoral vote system provides that whoever wins the popular votes in a state carries the entire number of electoral votes assigned to that state. A state has as many electoral votes as it has elected members in the US Congress. All states have two senators and anywhere between 52 and 1 representative. Ex. California has 54 total, Alaska only 3.

Let's assume there's a Trump-Biden rematch. If Trump wins the popular vote in California even if by only one single solitary godforsaken vote over Biden, he still wins big because he gets the 54 electoral votes of California. But even if no one unanimously votes for Trump in Alaska and Biden carries Alaska unanimously, Biden still losses because Alaska only has 3 electoral votes.

And it can get pretty interesting as you move up and down the rest of the 48 states. A total of 270 electoral votes is needed to elect the president and vice president. But what can really get things more confusing and complicated is if a Trump-Biden rematch does happen despite the many Philippine-style judicio- political legal hurdles thrown Trump's way.

Many people in America do not know what is happening to their country. They do not realize it is an exact replica of what we play here in the Philippines. Indicted on a number of charges, the first hearings will come just before the first caucuses and primaries to select party nominees. Republicans say they will back Trump if he is chosen.

Democrats are far less assured with Biden. Not just Democrats but Americans and the whole world. Throw in Kamala Harris and prospects can only go further and quicker south. No wonder America's enemies are on the edges of their seats. Anti-American times have not looked better or more enticing. And to think Trump is not exactly any better.

Maybe someday in the future, some better researched historian with truer resources and better analytical skills can tell exactly what happened to the greatest country on earth, that why, at its prime, it would suddenly eat itself up and leave everyone, friend and foe, wondering what happened.

Imagine this. Donald Trump, political outsider sweeping the American heartland by storm on promises of making America great again. Nobody had a better, clearer, message than he did but his improbable victory made him a marked man. Even by his fellow billionaire friends in corporate America. They ousted him, trumped him up, and now he is on the way to a big comeback.

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