It’s down to the final week in the United States election campaign. On Monday, November 7, America’s voters will go to the polls and elect their next president – either Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party or Donald Trump of the Republican Party.
Filipinos have been closely following the US elections for many reasons. One is that over a million Filipinos now live and work in the US and about of them are voting citizens. Another is that American foreign policy impacts greatly on our country and the next US president may have plans that are bound to affect us.
The Philippines has figured in the debates between Clinton and Trump. At one point, Trump who has taken a stand against migrants, particularly Muslim migrants, lumped the Philippines as one of the world’s terrorist states, whose people should not be allowed into the US. He probably had in mind the Islamic groups fighting the government in Mindanao, where American forces have long been actively operating with Philippine armed forces.
President Duterte’s announcement in a forum in Tokyo last Wednesday that he wants all foreign troops out of the Philippines within two years adds a another dimension to our fast-changing official ties with the US. It moved former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is known to be close to President Duterte, to say that should Clinton win the US elections, she might be able to help as she is a personal friend of the Clintons; she and former President Bill Clinton were classmates at Georgetown University in 1960.
It does look like Hillary Clinton will win the election. A USA Today-Suffolk University poll last weekend gave her a formidable nine-point lead over Trump – 47 percent against 38 percent – in a four-way race. She is heavily favored by black, Hispanic, and Asian-Americans, and by young voters across all races. She would be the first woman president of the United States.
But many Americans are concerned about the possibility of violence on Election Day, as Trump has claimed there is rigging in the election, without offering any evidence. He has said he will accept the election results – if he wins.
There is fear that his followers may not quietly accept his defeat.
The US has always been the world’s finest example of democratic government with free elections that led to peaceful transfer of government power and authority. The world continues to look up to it on this matter and we hope the coming election will again be a great example of democracy at work.