By Alex P. Vidal
“One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.”—Cal Thomas
IT’S interesting to cover the elections in the United States especially the just concluded 2022 Midterm Elections.
I have noted some striking similarities in the way candidates behave when they lose and win.
Like in the Philippines, there were also sore losers in American elections.
Even in imminent defeat, bad losers continued to throw baseless accusations of fraud against their rivals.
To add insult, they also cast aspersions on the integrity of election officials who were doing patriotic tasks in securing and preserving democracy.
The behavior of the Republican senatorial candidate who lost in Arizona was a classic example.
He went to Fox News, a conservative network, and threw tantrums without a shred of evidence at elections officials who were Republicans like him after a projection showed he lost to the reelectionist Democrat Mark Kelly.
I thought he was decent, responsible and straightforward; I had high hopes for this Republican bet during the campaign; all my good impressions about him vanished when I heard him badmouth and falsely accuse election officials of favoring his Democratic rival.
But he can’t fight reality. Blake Masters lost miserably and it wasn’t even close.
Another suspected mentally deranged candidate for governor in the same state was already running amuck like a child denied of biscuits even before any projection of her possible defeat was announced (she was still in contention as of this writing as there was no final projection yet).
Aside from being an election denier, this misbehaving gubernatorial candidate is also a rabid conspiracy theorist and fanatic of the former guy.
When asked by CNN a week ago if she would accept the election result even if she loses, Kari Lake refused saying her victory was in the cards.
But there were also those who gamely accepted defeat right away from both the Democrats and Republicans when projections showed obvious results; they immediately conceded, called their rivals, and moved on with their lives. No fanfare. No bellyaching. No sour graping.
The Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, for senator who lost in Pennsylvania and the reelectionist Democrat, Tim Ryan, who lost in Ohio were some of them.
Even if the leads of their respective rivals were not insurmountable, they acted like true gentlemen and sportsmen worthy of emulation.
I salute these truly professional and dignified candidates.
Like in the Philippines, there is such thing as baluarte or home-base territory where candidates are expected to route their rivals; we can’t make any projection for candidates lagging behind unless results have been tabulated in their baluarte.
This became apparent after results in the gubernatorial contest in Arizona and senatorial contest in Nevada remained unknown or undecided four to five days after the November 8 elections.
Another “one-of-a-kind” system being implemented in American election is the runoff. We don’t have this kind of photo-finish decision if the two rivals are neck-and-neck and there is no clear winner.
There is no required threshold to win in this race.
The Senate race in Georgia, for instance, is heading to a runoff election, where Democrat Raphael Warnock will face Republican Herschel Walker for a second time.
On top of this race being exceptionally close, Georgia is also one of only two U.S. states with a runoff for both primary and general elections.
This means that under Georgia election law, if no candidate obtains over 50 percent of the vote, a runoff is triggered, and the top two candidates will face off again in a new election held four weeks after Election Day or on December 6.
The predecessor of Georgia’s runoff election was adopted after the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in Southern states. Runoffs were seen as additional roadblocks for Black people to vote, according to the U.S. Vote Foundation, which characterizes the practice as having “Jim Crow roots.”
Also, if the Democrats will win 50 seats in the Senate, they will control the Upper Chamber even if the Republicans will also secure 50 seats. In a 50-50 vote, Vice President Kamala Harris breaks the tie.
The party that gets 218 seats in the House of Representatives wins control of the Lower House.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)