How Binary Politics Can Propel A BBM Presidency
A showdown between Leni and BBM in a binary narrative will divide the votes of the middle candidates, benefiting Marcos in the process.
Someone engaged me on FB regarding my previous opinion piece.
The gentlemen pointed out the winnability of Leni against BBM because she has done it in the VP race.
I agree. At this point, every candidate can pull it off since the presidentiables still have 6 or more months to court the voters.
In this commentary, I would like to discuss two factors that I think can influence the 2022 elections. (1) The rise of Duterte and a (2) dislike for binary politics
The Rise of Duterte(ism)
Whenever the name Duterte is mentioned, two things come into people’s minds.
First to the victims of the drug war, human rights defenders and haters of the Marcoses’. He is the human incarnate of abuse and evil.
But to those who looked up to him, he is a no non-sense leader who can make oligarchs bow down for the benefit of ordinary people. He forced water concessionaries to revise the contracts. Rightfully or wrongfully, he shut down ABS-CBN. He forced the telcos to improve on their services.
When I asked a Facebook friend why he is routing for Sarah Duterte when she is not even planning to run. He said.
Simple lang sir, the political will to make things happen. Yung iba daldal lang.
I’m a bit lost at first since he is living in QC and how come he knew Sarah has political will when news about Davao scantly finds its way in mainstream national media.
Until I remembered several news articles in 2016 on the rise of Duterte.
The name Duterte seems to be associated with the “voice of ordinary people” who suffered neglect or were left out from the economic gains after EDSA 1986.
Add to that, the insults these people received from perceived purists, intellectuals, and elitists who called them “bobo” at “tanga” for voting and continually supporting Dutertes’ administration.
The more Rodrigo Duterte received insults for his appearance, drunken-like speeches, and simple reasoning, the more these ordinary people empathizes with him.
Yes, paid trolls exist but most political camps have them. But I’ve spoken to people who genuinely support him for the simple things he does for them.
Simply put, binary politics is a battle between them and us. But it has taken a different twist and evolved into a battle of good and evil. This resulted in severe polarization in society and real rift in families.
Another Facebook friend posted this meme in his timeline:
Huwag ng unfriend kung hindi tayo parehas ng Presidente.
Mahalaga hindi tayo parehas ng Jowa!
Because of this, an emerging group that disliked binary politics is growing.
Most people I knew hate being forced to choose between DDS and dilawan. And when they opted to stay neutral, they were accused of being enablers and complicit.
Maybe because of this reason, the middle candidates are attracting independent-thinking voters.
The Risk of Good vs. Evil Narrative
When Leni explained the reason why she is running and not seeking the unification of opposition candidates is because of “a Marcos”. That is non-negotiable, she said, and apparently, a major pre-condition to be called an opposition. It merited a sharp rebuke from Isko, but the personal attack, I believed, is also uncalled for.
Binary politics as a strategy of the Leni camp seems to be in motion. They already insinuated that if a presidential candidate will not cancel both Duterte and Marcos, they are complicit and enablers of the dark forces, and not an opposition.
However, Ping is a known ally if not a friend of PNoy. He was demonized by then strategists (who switched to LP eventually. This same group was also believed to be behind the demolition jobs against CJ Corona, Jojo Binay, and Grace Poe) of Gloria.
Pacquiao and Isko, on the other hand, are indeed supporters of the administration in the past
However, should this be taken against them? Which is good for democracy, stay as a political opponent, or respect the mandate of the people and work with the person until the mandate expires?
Both, likewise, have earned the ire of Duterte for various reasons.
In my opinion, there are three major sources of votes for the candidates:
(1) BBM/Duterte supporters
I’m puzzled by the support the Marcoses are receiving. But I can find two possible reasons. (1) Because of what Duterte(ism) represents and (2) Demonizing the 2nd and 3rd generation of Marcos’s as equally guilty on the abuses of martial law is perceived as bullying. Thus, they get sympathy.
(2) Leni/Purist supporters
(3) Those who disliked binary politics
I think if binary politics will be the playbook in the 2022 elections, then the divided votes will happen on #3.
If none of the candidates positioning on #3 will slide down, then we will have a sure BBM or Sarah win.
However, a Pacquiao candidacy is also a wildcard, he can get votes from Dutertes’ base which will affect a BBM candidacy if Sarah will not run.
The hardline supporters of Leni/Purists are not enough, as of the last survey, to beat BBM. She needs to court those on #3 to get more votes.
But we also witnessed an increased registration of new voters. Sentiments point to frustration with the present government. So they are intelligent swing voters that can alter the present landscape and predictions.
Another interesting fact is Filipinos usually vote for the opposition, after the term of the incumbent President. So no one should take Leni lightly, even though she is not faring well on the survey.
It is too early to tell, a lot can happen between now and election day. Besides, we have yet to see the platform and how the presidential wannabees will get their message across to the voters.
It’s still everyones’ ball game at this point in time