“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” Joseph Stalin
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Six months after the Philippines will hold a presidential election on May 9, 2016, the United States will also hold their own presidential election on November 8, 2016.
The US election has always been our model since time immemorial.
It’s not difficult to admire the electoral system of the United States when we are used to witnessing the decrepit system in the Philippines, where the results are usually known after more than a week or even two weeks after the election.
In the United States, the losers deliver concession speeches gracefully the night of election day, and winners deliver their victory speeches magnanimously thereafter.
When Americans wake up the next morning, they already have inkling about their newly elected officials even before they eat breakfast.
In the Philippines, concession and victory speeches come only if winners are not accused by their losing rivals of committing electoral fraud.
When losing bets cry “we wuz robbed” it will take months or even years before the winners are declared officially by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In many cases, the winners get to occupy their elected seats only days before the next election; sometimes they never have a chance to take their oath of office as they are embroiled in a protracted legal skirmish.
Filipino politicians lose because either they are “victims of fraud” or they suffer from “shortage of campaign funds.”
Whether there is semblance of truth in the aforementioned allegations, losers in the Philippine elections almost always have alibis to offer; they never ran out of excuses.
In the US presidential race, results are determined by the number of electoral votes from the Electoral College. Since the Electoral College is consist of 538 electors, a majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president.
Under the system, a candidate who wins the popular votes can not clinch the presidency.
If the presidential standard bearer in one political party wins, his vice president also wins automatically.
Because of the two-party system (Democrat and Republican), results are fast and accurate.
In the Philippines, five or more political parties can field their candidates from president down to the local level as long as they are accredited by the Comelec.
The logjam illustrates how chaotic is the tasks and responsibilities of the poll body in terms of regulating these political parties and disqualifying the so-called nuisance candidates who run as independents.
The multi-party system is being viewed as an aberration in the Philippine electoral system where winners are picked based on popularity votes or the number of votes they can garner from different polling precincts nationwide.
Some of these well-oiled political parties can also delay the proclamation of certain winners by filing annoying election protests meant to derail if not sabotage the assumption into office of winners.
In some cases, winners are assassinated to prevent them from occupying their seats.
Beset by tribal and ideological differences, elections in the countryside in most cases are attended by violence and massive irregularities such as vote-buying, coercion, threats, intimidation giving credence to the infamous “guns, goons, and golds” terror tactic employed by influential and moneyed bets.
The electoral process in the United States can be considered as role model for other democratic countries that select their leaders through election worldwide.
By afternoon of the day after the November 6, 2012 election, reelected President Barack Obama was already back in White House to assume his second mandate.
And life goes on for all Americans.