The election of former Vice President Joseph “Joe” Biden and Senator Kamala Harris as President and Vice President, respectively, to record-level voter turnout in the United States of America is a testament to their country’s resolve in participating in, and protecting, their democracy.
Moreover, their victory and Pres. Donald Trump’s defeat signals to the free world that populism is on decline. The tenacity in which Mr. Biden conducted his campaign is truly remarkable as his path to the US Presidency was littered with seemingly insurmountable odds, not least of which is the solid conservative base, strong social media presence of Pres. Trump and the fact that he is running against a sitting president. Pres. Trump was propelled into presidency during the international wave of populism following a social media scandal that were interpreted by many to have manipulated many voters through fake news and targeted messaging.
The resolve in which Mr. Biden and his supporters rallied is truly inspiring to all whose voice was silenced by the populist rhetorics around the world. They have shown that real democracy can overcome fabricated populism and that faith in well-informed and properly motivated electorates is never misplaced.
Now, the work of the incoming administration is cut out for them. We live in a world that has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 50 million have been infected and more than a million have already died and the world is yet again suffering from a massive economic contraction.
On top of guiding his country towards recovery from COVID-19, Mr. Biden needs to reach out to old allies and once again bridge the ties that his predecessor has since severed. The United States needs to again be at the forefront on the issues on international cooperation, democracy, human rights, and climate change.
Of great relevance to the Philippine situation is Mr. Biden’s campaign pledge to place human rights “at the core of US foreign policy.”
It is rather hypocritical for Mr. Duterte’s mouthpieces to say that whether it is Biden or Trump, there is not much change expected in US-PH relations. This after Mr. Duterte, whose disdain for human rights is well-known and richly documented, endorsed his fellow populist Trump.
While it is understood that Mr. Biden approaches the role of the US in international geopolitics differently, we expect Mr. Biden to be less tolerant of human rights violators than his soon-to-be predecessor and align with Europe against the hegemonic tendencies of China.
Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris! Best of luck! ###
(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 961 here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_20961)