Election 2020 Version

by Manuel B. Quintal, Esq.

| Photo courtesy of The Root

United States presidential elections happen every four years. This year’s election is turning out to be interesting, at least to this writer.

Just consider the following. Both candidates for president are old by comparison to candidates in prior years. One is vying for re-election, and the other was vice president for two four-year terms. Not since the late former President George Herbert Bush, a two-term vice president to President Ronald Reagan, ran for the presidency. The presidents after Bush, William Jefferson Clinton (Democrat), George W. Bush (Republican), and Barack Obama (Democrat), all served for two consecutive four-year terms of office. The incumbent president, Donald Trump, a Republican, is aiming for another four years.

Though voting by mail has been in use years before, it is a hot and controversial topic this year. Trump has been saying that if he loses, it is a rigged election. This declaration casts doubt on the electoral process with the election still more than one month and a half away.

“For Trump, the coming election will be a referendum on his performance as president. He will be measured and judged by the thinking voters on his performance during the last four years.”

For Trump, the coming election will be a referendum on his performance as president. He will be measured and judged by the thinking voters on his performance during the last four years. While the president deals with so many issues, I submit that how he or his administration addressed the country’s relations with other countries, and immigration deserves to be considered by the thinking voters.

From the Trump administration’s onset, the United States started to withdraw from its leadership status in the world community. Since the beginning of WW I, United States foreign policy has increased involvement in international affairs. The United States was a significant player in forming the League of Nations, the United Nations, regional defense organizations during the Cold War, and a considerable supporter of specialized organizations.

In the Trump administration, the direction went toward the opposite. Lesser involvement in world concerns in the NATO, revision of NAFTA, and withdrawal from certain specialized agencies. Its participation in issues involving the South China Sea was almost unheard of until China almost finished its military facilities in the islands, also claimed by others, including the Philippines. It is not to say that the Philippines did not somehow contribute to the U.S. policy in the area.

“Countries seek to promote their interests, above all, in dealing with others. The foreign policy during the Trump presidency made expressly clear what is obvious. “America First.”

Countries seek to promote their interests, above all, in dealing with others. The foreign policy during the Trump presidency made expressly clear what is obvious. “America First.” The reaction from leaders of other countries, particularly those of developed countries and traditional allies, have not been flattering. News reports on how these leaders see him are not complimentary.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning to Trump’s credit that he could broker a historic agreement opening diplomatic relations between Israel, on the one hand, and the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, on the other, respectively.

Regarding immigration, we should note that people’s migration had been from more impoverished societies to economically developed countries throughout human history. Thus, immigration will always be an issue. And a continuing problem for developed countries, like the United States. This issue has been crucial in American politics, with conflicting interest groups lobbying Congress members to support their causes.

Under the present administration, the president, by way of executive orders, limited the influx of aliens. These actions were primarily motivated by the desire to undo what the prior administration did and not separate rational justifications. The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the 2012 program that gave specific individuals who entered the United States when they were children relief from deportation and became eligible for employment authorization, was stopped. No new applications were accepted. After some time in litigation, the Supreme Court ordered the acceptance of applications for extension and new applications. Intra-company transfers were limited. National security reasons prohibited nationals from certain countries from entering.

Recently, no new asylum applications were being accepted and adjudicated. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and reduced revenue and work, the Immigration and Citizenship Services threatened (but later called off) to furlough some of its employees.

When in other countries, Americans are proud to be citizens of a country seen as a world leader. That pride may have decreased.

“An overly nationalistic policy, a product of emotion rather than reason, may have caused a policy of preventing talents from emigrating to the United States and contributing to American society. Such an approach may have also contributed to divisiveness in our community.”

The United States was built on immigrants’ combined know-how, both of those from centuries ago to the present. As people from several parts of the world, their strength lies in what they have learned to live together, recognize, and respect differences. An overly nationalistic policy, a product of emotion rather than reason, may have caused a policy of preventing talents from emigrating to the United States and contributing to American society. Such an approach may have also contributed to divisiveness in our community.

You stand on these issues and remember that it should be driven by reason, not by your blind emotion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Manuel B. Quintal, ESQ., practices law in New York since 1989. He is active in the community as a member, an officer or a legal adviser of various professional, business, and not-for-profit organizations. He was a columnist of Newstar Philippines, an English language weekly newspaper published in New York, from 2006-2009. He was Executive Editor of International Tribune, an English language weekly newspaper for the Asian community, based in New York, from 2010 to 2012. He is admitted to practice law in the Philippines and New York State. He has graduate degrees in Political Science and an LL.M. major in International Law.

You may also like

X