A banana republic

"Filipinos are too familiar with what Trump is doing as he continues to refuse to concede."


It is ironic that the country whose habit is telling other countries how to behave is now the center of a political circus. This prompted a Republican governor to describe the United States as a banana republic.

For us Filipinos, what the US President is doing is all too familiar. In fact, he can perfectly fit in our political milieu. His refusal to accept defeat, claiming that the election was rigged through massive fraud, is what many of our politicians do every time there is an election. In this country, we know that there are two kinds of candidates: The one who is proclaimed the winner and the one who was cheated. Very few candidates here are willing to accept that they were defeated fair and square. What President Trump is doing is equivalent to barricading the White House. He refuses concede—as we often see among our elective officials when they are contesting poll results.

We of course do not know how far President Trump will go but it is not one of the proudest moments of a country that is supposedly the leader of the free world and guardian of democracy. This is the first time that we are witnessing a defeated Presidential candidate in the US, who happens to be the incumbent President, refuse to acknowledge defeat. He is delaying transition work which might have negative consequences on the national security of the country.

It was only last Tuesday that the US General Services Administration agreed to begin transition protocols with the Biden transition team. President Trump, however, continues to question Biden’s victory in the courts. His priority at the moment remains the overturning of the election results. Most of the lawsuits filed by his lawyers in various states, however, have been dropped or dismissed. They appear to be going nowhere. Perhaps this is because of the absence of a top-notch election lawyer in his legal team. His lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City and US attorney, has not litigated a court case in almost 30 years. His legal team is also in disarray and uncoordinated. With lawyers like them, it is no wonder that every case filed is either dropped or dismissed.

Some of the tactics pursued by Trump’s lawyers are eerily similar to the legal moves we often see in this country in every election protest. This is the use of the judicial system to delay or perhaps stop the proclamation of a winning candidate which is now being attempted by President Trump’s lawyers without much success. There are also allegations of computer manipulation by Smartmatic and Dominion as the reasons why Trump lost. Smartmatic is the same computer company that provides the machines for our elections. Dominion is also the software company that provides the operating programs for our elections. These allegations of fraud being mentioned there in the US are the same that we have been hearing in this country in our previous three local and national elections.

President Trump, in addition, has also invited the legislators of the state of Michigan to the White House in what media reports said was an attempt to pressure them to reverse the results of the election. It did not work.

One question being asked is why President Trump refuses to concede. One theory is to make it difficult for incoming President Joe Biden and the Democrats to question his victory in 2016. What about our relationship with the incoming US administration? Well, we more or less know that President Duterte is comfortable with President Trump perhaps because Trump never commented negatively on our anti-drug war. It does not necessarily mean however, that our President would not be able to pursue a beneficial relationship with the new US administration. After all, we have been allies for more than 120 years. It could also depend on how strong the next US administration will react to what China is doing with regards to the West Philippine Sea dispute. If, however, the incoming US administration will concentrate on human rights and start commenting negatively on President Duterte’s anti-drug war, there may be problems.

Will incoming President Biden be as tough on China as President Trump is? We have to wait and see. The world is hoping of course, that there will be an orderly transition of power. But judging from how President Trump is behaving, all point to his making it difficult for the Biden team and will never concede. His focus appears to be on making the American public believe that the recent election was rigged and fraudulent without providing credible evidence except theories on how it might have been done.

Topics: Florencio Fianza , banana republic , United States , Donald Trump , Joe Biden , US General Services Administration
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