Why Trump would be more at home in the Philippines
October 23, 2016
As the saying goes in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Donald Trump does not seem to be faring well as the nominee of a major party for president of the US. That is because he chose the wrong location. Here is why the Donald would have a better chance of winning if he ran for president in the Philippines:
He has a celebrity wife
Melania Trump, a former model would fit the bill for a politico’s wife in the Philippines. Examples of celebrity wives of politicians in the Philippines are the former first lady, Imelda Marcos who won as Ms Manila before marrying a dashing young congressman named Ferdinand; Korina Sanchez, the so called queen of news anchors who is married to former Sec Mar Roxas; Sharon Cuneta, the mega star who is married to Sen Francis Pangilinan; Vilma Santos, the star for all seasons who is married to Sen Ralph Recto and who became a politician in her own right; and Heart Evangelista, the former video jockey and model who is married to Sen Chiz Escudero.
He campaigns on populist rhetoric
Donald’s campaign pledge to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US is simply a slogan, according the his opponent Hillary Clinton. She says her plan contains measures that have been properly analyzed and costed, so that their economic and financial impact on the US economy and federal budget could be properly assessed. Many economists actually believe that Trump’s economic agenda would spell disaster for the very workers he claims to be fighting for. Donald’s method of using slogans and motherhood statements would fit the way Philippine presidential campaigns are conducted-without much substance behind them.
He has the portly stature of a padrino
Donald’s physique has added an interesting and funny note to the US presidential campaign. It has been a response to the way he has objectified women based on their outward appearance. An example is the way he fat-shamed Alicia Machado, who at the time was the winner of the Ms Universe beauty pageant, which Trump had recently acquired. At 236 pounds, Trump is considered obese given his height. But that would not be considered a bad thing in the Philippines, where heft is a sign of wealth, and a beer belly is how a man proves that he can hold his liquor.
He stands for “family values”
Mr Trump said in the third presidential debate that he wanted to appoint Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade, which would put the issue of legal abortion back to the states. This would also eventually lead to the court’s overturning of its ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in the US. He has also said that he would defund Planned Parenthood, the program that provides reproductive health services to women. These pronouncements would actually make him a leading contender for the top post in the Philippines, where the controversial Reproductive Health law is still being fought over.
He believes the media are conspiring against him
The media refuses to talk about the three new national polls that have me in first place. Biggest crowds ever – watch what happens!
As his poll numbers head south, Mr Trump has alleged that he has been the subject of a hit job my the mainstream media. He berated debate moderators at the second round for being biased. He continues to post tweets on Twitter claiming this media bias is creating an impression that he will lose the election. This sort of argument that media only focuses on the negative aspects of a candidate or government official, and is conspiring with political opponents to topple someone from a lofty position is nothing new in the Philippines. Donald’s conspiracy theories would sit very well in the Philippine context.
He panders to the less educated masses
The one good thing that the Trump campaign has exposed is the seething anger, sense of despondency and hopelessness felt by blue collar workers in America’s rust belt. These are the steel workers, the coal miners, the manufacturing laborers whose jobs have either been shipped overseas or are at risk of being lost to low income countries. The problem is the way he has courted their vote, by pandering to their baser instincts, and issuing promises that he knows he can’t keep after the election. This is the hallmark of the traditional politician in the Philippines, who promises the moon and the stars, but can’t deliver.
He wants to jail his political opponents
At the second presidential debate, Mr Trump said that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Mrs Clinton with the goal of putting her in jail. While this would just be standard conversation during a Philippine presidential debate with candidates shouting to each other ipakukulong kita! (trans. I will put you in jail!), in the US and any civilized democracy for that matter, people are afforded the right to due process, and those who hold the top post do not use the justice department to persecute and silence political opponents, as several former Republic justice officials have said.
He’s a self-made billionaire
Trump has cleverly woven a story of how he became a self-made billionaire. This claim has already been debunked. Rather than rags-to-riches, Donald Trump went from riches-to-even richer, all with the help of a loan from his father, and highly profitable contracts from Uncle Sam. Yes, that’s right, a poorly designed government program was what initially allowed the Trump family to create enormous wealth. Sound familiar? Filipinos have seen it all before, candidates claiming they come from humble beginnings, only to find out those claims are bogus, and that the source of true wealth for such individuals are sweetheart deals they were able to corner from the government.
He’s got the hairstyle of a 1950s matinee idol
No feature article about the Donald would be complete without mentioning the hair. His coif is the subject of much ridicule in the US, but in the Philippines, it would fit right in with the standard politico sporting a mane that would typify Hollywood movie stars from the 50s. Just ask our “mayor-president” who runs the city of Manila how a good head of hair helped his public image with voters.
He alone knows how to fix our problems
Mr Trump claims that he alone can fix the problems of the US. For a nation that prides itself with diversity of opinion, Trump’s absolutist language that only he holds the answers would be quite unsettling. Call it having a messianic complex, this CEO really believes it-it’s not hyperbole, and he can say it with a straight face. In the Philippines, we have had leaders that to the eyes of our people border on sainthood or idolization, who think that only their way is the right path, and that to question it would be an act of heresy. There would really be nothing remarkable about Trump’s statement in the Philippines.
He won’t accept the outcome of the “rigged” election…unless he wins
Moderator: Here’s why we have to have a peaceful transition of power
Trump: “I’ll keep you in suspense.”
In the Philippines, there is a saying that nobody loses an election. If you don’t win, you were cheated. Corollary to Mr Trump’s belief that the media is colluding with his opponent and conditioning the public to accept the results of a rigged election, is his pronouncement that he would not accept the outcome, if it is goes against him. This breaks the long-standing tradition in the American electoral system that the loser concedes to the winner. Mr Trump’s refusal to abide by such norms debases the political institution of a peaceful transfer of power. The values of democracy are meant to trump all other partisan considerations, but apparently not this time (no pun intended).
He promises to make his nation “great again”
Donald Trump’s mantra for why he wants to become president is to “make America great again”. He could have been channeling the late Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos who, in his inaugural address in 1965 used the same line in reference to the Philippines, not once but twice. Such pledges that promise to restore a “golden age” that was lost is standard practice among Filipino politicians. Nostalgia plays such a significant role in the nation’s political discourse. It has been used to great effect in the past. Candidates have ridden on the wave of public nostalgia all the way to Malacañang Palace.
For all these reasons, Mr Trump could be considered better suited to run for public office, not in America, but in the Philippines.
The author works as a development consultant and policy analyst in Adelaide, South Australia and Manila, Philippines. He is also the founder of the 2Klas Program, which equips inner city youth in Metro Manila with 21st Century skills. He has a Facebook page @CuspPH and tweets as @cusp_ph. He blogs and hosts a podcast on htttps://cusp-ph.blogspot.com.