“Defy the limitations people put on you.” – Adebayo Akinfenwa
There is a growing optimism among some independent members of the Filipino community in the United States to defy the “call” made earlier by President Rodrigo R. Duterte for Filipinos living in the U.S. to vote for President Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential Election on November 3.
“Mukhang malabo ang panawagan ni Digong. Halos majority ng mga Pilipino ay boboto talaga kay Biden (The Filipinos might defy President Duterte as majority of them will really vote for Biden),” said Ruben Alejandrino, a 72-year-old retired Greyhound bus driver.
Alejandrino said, unlike some of his neighbors, he didn’t request for a mail-in ballot “kasi boboto talaga ako sa Nobiembre tres (I will cast my vote on November 3).”
“Even my friends and relatives in Omaha (Nebraska) and San Diego (California) who are mostly Duterte die hards told me they will most likely vote for Biden,” hissed Alex Ugarte, a 65-year-old retiree who now dabbles in food catering business in Forest Hills, Queens.
Ugarte said many US-based Filipinos are more hooked on the Trump-Biden rivalry than the “boring” political events in the Philippines that no kingpin or political personality can influence their vote.
“They don’t care what will (President Duterte) Digong dictate because they are aware the Filipinos are facing their own problems in the Philippines and most of these problems are also related to pandemic and economic hardship,” Ugarte explained.
“The Filipinos here (in the U.S.) are more aware and educated about the political developments in America. No need to tell them to vote for a certain candidate because they are all knowledgeable.”
President Duterte early this year urged US-based Filipinos to vote for Mr. Trump saying the Republican reelectionist “is good for the Filipinos.”
Although he did not elaborate, Mr. Duterte took potshots at former U.S. President Barack Obama “who was a socialist.”
Mr. Obama supports Mr. Biden.
Though former Vice President Joseph Biden has seen his lead narrow in some states since the summer, the Democratic party’s nominee is currently polling ahead of incumbent President Trump in key battleground states.
In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Mr. Trump won by razor thin margins in 2016, Mr. Biden leads by 5 and 6 points, respectively, according to the Financial Times.
The race is even closer in Arizona, a state only one Democratic presidential candidate has won in the past 70 years, and Ohio, where Mr. Trump beat former State Secretary Hillary Clinton by eight points in 2016.
Other toss-up states include North Carolina, which has voted Republican in nine out of the last 10 presidential elections, as well as Florida and Texas, where COVID-19 cases soared during the summer.
In these states, the difference in poll numbers between the two men is reportedly less than five percentage points, suggesting a close race in November.
National polls reportedly show Mr. Biden at a significant advantage. White seniors in particular, a group that helped propel Mr. Trump to victory in 2016, have shown signs of disapproval towards the president’s handling of the pandemic.
Mr. Biden reportedly holds a substantial lead among Latino voters, a growing demographic in swing states like Arizona and Florida, but some polls suggest he is less popular with Latino voters than either former President Barack Obama in 2012 or Clinton in 2016.
According to a recent nationwide CNN Poll, Mr. Biden’s advantage over President Trump has expanded and the former vice president now holds his widest lead of the cycle with less than a month remaining before Election Day.
Among likely voters, according to the poll that was conducted entirely after the first debate and mostly after the President’s coronavirus infection was made public, 57 percent say they back Mr. Biden and 41 percent Mr. Trump.
Regardless of Mr. Biden’s national lead, the race for the White House will ultimately come down to a handful of swing states that will drive the outcome in the Electoral College.
The former vice president reportedly leads in several of those critical battlegrounds, but by more narrow margins than his national advantage.
A poll is not a prediction of how the election will ultimately turn out but instead is a snapshot of the race as it currently stands.
Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ