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Issues in the coming US November elections


THE “Me too” movement in the United States which charged many noted American personalities linked to sexual violence or harassment, has found a new challenge – the Senate confirmation and subsequent assumption to office of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The whole country – and much of the rest of the world – watched early this month as the nomination of Kavanaugh by President Donald Trump was opposed by a woman who testi­fied that she was sexually assaulted by the nominee when he was a teenager in 1972. The woman, now a university professor, was soon joined by two other women who had charges of their own.

The Republican majority in the US Senate agreed to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation look into the case but its findings were never disclosed in public. Kavanaugh was confirmed by a partisan vote of 50-48 and he took his oath of office as a lifetime member of the Supreme Court.

The Kavanaugh case now takes its place as one of the issues against President Trump and his Republican Party in the US mid-term elections this November. There are many issues against Trump – his opposition to a Justice Department investigation into Russian involvement in the last US elections, the US trade war with China which has affected the American economy, Trump’s withdrawal from many international agreements, notably that with Iran which has helped cause world oil prices to rise, an order to separate children from their illegal immigrant parents, the grow­ing perception that the world, especially Europe, no longer looks to the US for leadership.

The political opposition in the US led by the Democratic Party hopes to win enough votes in the elections to win control of the Senate which, with its key role in an impeachment process, would have a restraining effect on some of President Trump’s disputed decisions.

Women are said to be playing a big role in the coming elections. A record number of women are running for Congress this year and recent polls in some of the closely contested elections show a trend away from Trump’s Republicans. The Kavanaugh case is expected to figure promi­nently in many of these senatorial and congressional elections.

We in the Philippines have our own mid-term elections next year. They too will be a kind of assessment of the record of our President. We have our own set of concerns here in the Philip­pines and right now they are dominated by rising prices.

But we continue to follow events in the US, where some two million Filipinos live and work today. We may not be directly affected by them but we can understand the Americans’ concern over foreign intervention in their elections, their fears over the possible effects the US trade war has on local prices, their sympathies for immigrant children separated from their families, and their indignation over the politics involved in the Kavanaugh case.

We will thus be closely following these and other issues as they play out in the American midterm elections, now swiftly moving to their climax on November 6, only 25 days away.