What is the one key issue which will secure the votes of the Filipino urban middle class in the coming presidential elections?
Appropriate it is now to ask such a question now that historically-insecure urban middle classes, like the other classes, are again enduring a fresh deadly wave of the never-ending mutating Covid-19 disease.
Going straight to the point, I am guessing that widespread pandemic despair is the single pressing issue for most of the Filipino urban middle classes in this election, much as large swaths of that same middle class decided that illegal drugs was the single pressing issue during the 2016 elections.
My guess is an educated one. It isn’t flimsy sophistry to believe there’s middle-class anxieties over the economic dislocations as well as their fears over their dwindling savings which had allowed them to survive the pandemic so far. It’s all too real.
It’s even causing the middle class sleepless nights and will definitely influence their vote in May.
In fact, refusing to assess correctly how the pandemic literally brought the middle class to its knees is junk thinking.
It’s as hollow as the rosy predictions that only one political camp is all set to win the elections largely because of what the surveys say.
Aired by a herd of revisionist political pimps in search of post-election sinecures, such splenetic, hollow, over-weaning self-opinion merely only wants other political camps to accept political defeat this early.
Determining who will win this election at this time without considering serious factual issues, I firmly hold, is as futile as taking political advice from astrologers.
Such fatuous predictions of early victory are also credulous, politically vacuous and ahistorical.
We need not go far in proving such a point. We need only to know how the single issue of illegal drugs during the last presidential elections brought us the present regime.
Sharper and clearer it is now that the Filipino urban middle class was singularly responsible for Mr. Duterte’s victory.
In fact, so prominent was the urban middle class’s role in Mr. Duterte’s victory, most recent political judgments conclude Mr. Duterte was definitely the 2016 candidate of the Filipino middle class.
There is truth to those assertions. Mr. Duterte got 43 per cent of the urban votes, managing only 36 percent of the rural vote.
How it happened Mr. Duterte attracted the middle class vote?
Mr. Duterte correctly guessed that the single worst fear of the urban middle class had during his campaign was the threat of the illegal drugs on their economic security.
So that now, as one very recent political judgment aptly puts it: “The candidate’s (Mr. Duterte) radical proposal of a war on drugs was successful among the new, younger, educated middle class, who valued his emphasis on law and order.”
Elaborating further, Mr. Duterte’s focus “on the war on drugs and on his explicit support for the extrajudicial killings of drug users and criminals” held the “key to his success among the ‘angry new middle class’ who were afraid that growing insecurity (from the illegal drugs trade) would wipe out the benefits they had gained from recent economic growth.”
In this case, the “recent economic growth” was due largely to the efforts of previous reformist Aquino administration.
An anxious middle class, together with Mr. Duterte regional clout in Mindanao where he garnered an impressive 62 percent of the vote casted there, is now undoubtedly electoral history.
But this doesn’t mean that similar anxiety-inducing troubles the pandemic has wrought on the middle classes, just illegal drugs once did, won’t be a factor in this election.
Without a doubt the Filipino urban middle class is suffering tremendously in this pandemic.
It may well turn out the urban middle class is going to be the single biggest victim of this pandemic, more than the helpless poor or the unconscionable rich.
As such, it isn’t far-fetched to once more hazard the guess there’s going to be “very angry middle class” out there as the elections gears up in the coming days.
A very angry middle class means only one thing — anyone hereon in who electrifies with solid plans on how the nearly-bankrupt middle class gets back tottering on its own two feet in this pandemic stands likely to get the vote.
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