OPINION: Notes on the US elections and its Fil-Am participation

Buddy Gomez -- Cyberbuddy

Posted at Nov 17 2018 02:38 AM | Updated as of Nov 17 2018 10:34 AM

Let us start with the bad news. Bad news for the Fil-Am cheering squad and then bad news for Donald Trump.

None of the Fil-Am candidates for the US Congress made it. Falling short and failing were Gina Ortiz Jones, Jennifer Zimmerman and Cristina Osmeña.

Cristina Osmeña is our own ex-Senator Serge Osmeña’s Republican daughter. She was gunning for California’s Bay Area 14th District, long held by Democrat Jackie Spier. That was a tough call.

Democrat Jennifer Zimmerman, whose mother is Filipina, ran in the First District of Florida, covering the panhandle counties around Pensacola and the US’ largest Air Base, Eglin. She failed to unseat the Republican incumbent. I do not think her ethnic heritage was ever a factor in a vicinity with very scant Philippine content, if at all.

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, daughter of a Pangasinense public school teacher, was a cliffhanger to the end. A personal tear-jerker for me as I was an early booster although not a voter in her district. A Democrat running for Texas 23rd Congressional District, Gina was a favorite and had gained much ground and support in an obviously Republican-gerrymandered district that runs a 500+ mile narrow swath through the Rio Grande Valley from East El Paso to West San Antonio. Check the Texas map, if you find the time.

While many other less important political offices were won by female Democrats in still heavily ‘red’ (meaning Republican) Texas, Gina fell short. Her run, however, revealed the slowly evolving potential of Texas turning ‘purple’ and eventually, ‘blue’ (meaning Democratic) in the not too distant future. We have no news of Gina’s future plans.

In fact, speaking of future plans in general, in a highly contested Texas senatorial contest, the Democratic Party now promises to bring on a humongous political plus in the near future. I speak of the attractive, youthful Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, Congressman from El Paso, who came very close to unseating Texas’ junior Senator, Ted Cruz. Beto’s campaign style and Kennedyesque posture has captivated national attention. Despite his Texas debacle, there is now talk and clamor for a stab at the Democratic national convention gearing  for the Presidential elections of 2020. An American political phenomenon-in-the-making worth watching for.

By and large, there are more Fil-Ams who are declared and vote as Democrats. Filipino Republicans are fewer but tend to be wealthier, many of whom are practicing physicians and, of course, to this group belongs our contribution to American social-climbing wannabees. It is a topic that I would rather avoid. My sentiments are showing, aren’t they?

This failed Fil-Am experiment for active participation in national politics leaves only one individual in the US Congress who can claim a Filipino ancestral heritage. Not very commonly known within the US Filipino community is the fact that there has been since 1992 a Filipino mestizo in the US Congress representing the State of Virginia. Although, Robert “Bobby” C. Scott is Virginia’s first African-American congressman, he is also the very first American of Philippine heritage to serve in the U.S. Congress!

Bobby Scott has a very interesting and exemplary background. It is worthy being shared and retold. He is a quarter Filipino, maternal grandfather being Pinoy marrying an African-American woman. His lolo was a stowaway bound for America during the very early colonial days. Valentin Cortez ended happily being adopted by the ship’s captain who cared for him and gave him the proper upbringing and education. He married an African-American woman. Bobby’s mom (now, half-Pinay) and dad, a Boston surgeon, were evidently well-off professionals because the intellectually well-endowed Bobby went through Harvard and Boston College Law  School. Notably, very impressively, his Grammar School was Groton!  Highly reputable Groton in Massachusetts was the favored school of the Roosevelts, the Peabodys, Auchincloss, Achesons, the Cornings and the Harrimans--America’s ‘de buenas familias!’--and a Filipino mestizo was in attendance!

Anyway, the last midterm elections is very notable because of the successful participation of the largest ever number of female candidates who are credited with the reality that the US House of Representatives is now under the control of the Democratic Party, with Nancy Pelosi, returning as Speaker.

And here comes the second bad news!  Bad news for Donald Trump!

Indeed, actually, it is the good and the best news of the electoral season. The Democrats mightily regaining control of the House of Representatives.  

Disconsolate Donald has been, more than ever, behaving erratically funny, obviously disturbed at the prospects of being publicly unmasked, confirming pervading ugly conversations about him. Finally! Recall that the Donald has adamantly refused to publicly share his personal income tax returns as has been the accepted political norm and tradition for presidents. The scuttlebutt is that he is indeed not the billionaire many times over that he has been claiming but that revelations will now confirm what the NY Times reported in its investigative expose--serial tax fraud committed by the Trumps!

Will the last American midterm elections be a pattern for our own, in the May elections next year?

Similarly, our own President Rodrigo R. Duterte has an unconfirmed reputed scandal to hide himself. Remember his supposed BPI bank accounts (plus the now evolving charges of neo-cronyism, which spells Dennis Uy)?  Will it also take  a return of sense and sensibility, patriotic responsibility to our own House of Representatives? This will, of course, by courtesy of the Filipino voter.

Some might say “abangan!” I am not betting on it. Not via elections. Some other social cataclysm needs to happen.


Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.

In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.

During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.

After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.

He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas.

His e-mail is: t.gomez@live.com

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.