Rodel E. Rodis, January 28, 2008
After 1 ½ years of non-stop campaigning by Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, the rubber finally meets the road on the Super Duper Tuesday of February 5 when the following 22 states hold their primaries: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Delaware, Alabama, Tennessee, Utah, Georgia, Kansas and West Virginia.
For the Democrats, these 22 states will award a total of 1,681 pledged delegates which is 51% of all those awarded nationally. For the Republicans (also known as the Grand Old Party or GOP), these 22 states will award 975 delegates which is 41% of their total number. The Democrats will award their delegates proportionately according to the percentage of the votes received above the threshold 15% minimum while the GOP will have the winner take all the delegates in many states.
For the Democrats, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barrack Obama are the two major candidates remaining with former South Carolina Sen. John Edwards at the back of the pack. Edwards’ hopes are slim but he remains a candidate of hope, hope that Hillary and Barrack will be deadlocked at the convention and the delegates at the Democratic National Convention meeting in Denver in August will chose him as the alternative.
For the Republicans, the race has narrowed down to Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee hanging on barely. Giuliani went from a lead of 32% in the national polls to a current low of 12%, a precipitous drop brought about by his decision to skip all the presidential primaries until Florida, which he now has slim hopes of winning. Huckabee’s prayer is to land a vice-presidential slot.
Whoever wins his or her party’s nomination will make history. Hillary hopes to be the first non-male presidential candidate of a major party while Barrack seeks to be the first non-white to win that honor. Romney hopes to be the first Mormon to win while McCain, at 72, will be the oldest candidate. Giuliani will be the baldest (and first Italian-American) and Huckabee the first evangelical minister.
But the choice of either Barrack or Hillary is not just about being a major “first” but about changing America’s global image and its role in the world and its national priorities.
It has not been an easy choice for me as my college-age sons have urged me to endorse Barrack Obama, whose “Audacity of Hope” is not just the title of his book but also the challenge of his campaign. Barrack is this generation’s John F. Kennedy, the candidate whose fiery eloquence has moved the youth to look into the promise of the future as no candidate has been able to do since JFK. As the New York Times wrote, “he shows voters that he understands how much they hunger for a break with the Bush years, for leadership and vision and true bipartisanship.”
But I believe Hillary is more prepared to lead the country now because of her experience. When she was First Lady in 1993, she understood how critical it was for the US to have a universal health care system and she sought to create a health care system that would benefit everyone. Unfortunately, she was crushed by the powerful pharmaceutical interests and the American Medical Association. But now 47 million Americans are without health care and more than 100 million with health care do not have enough to cover them through catastrophic illnesses.
The countries with universal health care in Europe, Canada, China, Japan and other industrialized countries are moving forward while the US economy is bogged down by an inadequate health care system that only serves the rich and those with adequate health care coverage.
But now that the huge costs of health care is killing American industries and bankrupting states which are spending more to care for those seriously ill than they would otherwise have spent to keep them healthy, health care is now viewed as a right of everyone, not just a privileged for the few.
Hillary’s health care proposals, as the Times noted, “reflect a clear shift from her first, famously disastrous foray into the issue. She has learned that powerful interests cannot simply be left out of the meetings. She understands that all Americans must be covered — but must be allowed to choose their coverage, including keeping their current plans.”
Both Hillary and Barrack will work to shift the resources of the government from the Bush emphasis on helping the wealthy with tax cuts to helping the poor and middle income have health coverage. But Hillary will know how to do it, from experience.
Hillary is also closer to the Filipino American community than any of the other presidential candidates from either party. She is the only one who has addressed a major Filipino community gathering when she spoke at the national conference of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations in New York in 1999. Among her closest advisers are Filipino Americans including Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Irene Bueno, Irene Natividad, and Mona Pasquil. She also supports the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill and comprehensive immigration reform.
For those in California, as a community college trustee, I also urge a YES vote on Proposition 92, which seeks to guarantee funding for the 2.5 million students (including 4,000 Filipinos in the main campus of City College of San Francisco) currently enrolled in the 103 community college campuses in the 74 community college districts in the state.
As the Los Angeles Daily noted in its editorial endorsement, “in a perfect world, there would be no need for
Proposition 92, the community colleges funding measure on the Feb. 5 ballot. The state's community colleges would get their fair share of resources and influence in Sacramento, befitting public higher education institutions that benefit the most Californians. It's unfortunate, however, that this is not the case…In many years, the state has shortchanged community colleges by hundreds of millions of dollars. For years the community colleges - the best educational bang for the buck in the state - have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to funding, despite being a boon to the economy by training needed workers.”
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