The opposition is not unraveling only because it never raveled in the first place. Its fundamental mistake, or the mistake of the one associated with the so-called Genuine Opposition, is not that it waited for people who were never forthcoming. It is not that it did not get the strongest candidates to man, or woman, its roster. It is not even that it made the wrong moves in the process of who to get and who to drop in its roster, though this succeeded only in fragmentizing rather than unifying the forces ranged against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
It is simply that it never understood the concept of the protest vote.
The ingredients of the protest vote you see easily in the Philippine elections of 1971 and the American elections of last year. Both elections saw the opposition rubbing the snouts of the administration candidates in the mud. Until January this year, that was where the local elections this May seemed headed to.
There are two main ingredients in the protest vote. One is that the administration is hugely unpopular. And it is hugely unpopular because of one particular issue that has shocked the nation. In the case of the Philippine elections of 1971, that was the Plaza Miranda bombing. The grenades that exploded in the miting de avance of the Liberal Party were matched by the anger that exploded in the mind of the public, which translated into a rejection of the administration at the polls. In the case of the American elections, it was the Iraq War. With no small help from the sight of the body bags being flown back home, Americans finally woke up seething with rage at having been duped into fighting another Vietnam War. And by an American president given to outright lying.
The other ingredient in the protest vote is that the opposition offers the possibility of being the solution to the problem. In the Philippine elections of 1971, the Liberal Party candidates were first of all the victims. Except for Ninoy Aquino, they were all at Plaza Miranda when it was bombed. But more than that, they also represented the hope that they could check a madman like Marcos. In the American elections last year, the Democrats also represented, well—more than the hope—the very real possibility America could extricate itself from the quagmire of Bush’s making.
Uh huh. Well, let's talk about the US elections. What De Quiros failed to mention was that the Democrats (the Opposition) had to lose big time in 2004 first --and squander their so called "protest vote" for failing to capitalize on the American voter's (and the World's) anger towards the Iraq War--before coming back strong in 2006 to regain the House and Senate majorities.
(the dems had this idea nga na if the US allowed everybody around the world to vote in the 2004 US elections, Bush would have lost raw, LOL. that's how unpopular the war was around the world back then, they say.)
And how bad was the loss? Not only did Bush win 51% of the total votes cast (making him the first president since Bush the Elder in 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote), but republicans won across the board. It gained 4 seats in the House (to make it 230-202 Republicans after election day). And an even bigger deal was that it also gained 4 additional Senate seats (to make it a 55-44-1 Repubican Majority). One of the carcasses in the 2004 Senate race was Democratic Senate Minority leader and vocal Bush/Iraq critic Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
So much for that so called "protest vote", eh?
And how could the democrats bungle it so badly back in 2004 when most polls indicate a democrat victory and Republicans losing seats in the House and Senate?
Wasn't the anti-war rallies were at it's peak during the 2003-2004 period? Hindi ba lumabas ang mga images ng "Abu Ghraib" noong early 2004, and it was given round the clock coverage by the media? Didn't the 9/11 commission declare that there was no connection between 9/11 and Iraq? Didn't we find out around mid-2004 na wala palang WMDs sa Iraq, and Bush was forced to declare during the 2004 campaign that he would still have gone to Iraq even there's no wmds to be found?
Bush said Iraq had the ability to build weapons of mass destruction and had been deceiving weapons inspectors, who reported no sign of banned weapons in Iraq in the weeks before the invasion.
"Everybody thought they would be there. We haven't found them yet," Bush said. "But he did have the capability of making weapons. Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision."
And didn't the Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry promise to get the troops out of iraq within the first 6 months if becomes the next president of the US of A? Wasn't that many in the Opposition democrats wanted?
Hindi ba the democrats mantra on Iraq in 2004 was "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time"?
And Didn't the Mainstream media do it's part in reporting the iraq War and covering the bloodshed and civilian deaths on tv and in print? Didn't Fahrenheit 9/11 won the Cannes Film Festival's best picture award and was the highest grossing documentary of all time?
So what happened? how could the Democrats opposition screw the 2004 elections so badly fuck up the so called protest vote on an unpopular war?