THE Americans will hold their midterm election tomorrow, six months ahead of our own but the date isn’t the only aspect of the electoral process where they are far advanced than we are except perhaps in the area of vote-buying and other forms of cheating.
The US Congress has 535 members. One hundred serve in the Senate (two per state) and 435 in the House of Representatives. In comparison, we have 24 senators and 297 congressmen, including the so-called party-list representatives.
Their senators are chosen within a particular state; ours, nationwide. Both the US and Philippine senators are elected to six-year terms but the former are not subject to any term limit unlike ours who can serve for only two consecutive terms.
One third of the entire membership of the US Senate are elected every two years while we chose our 12 senators every three years. However, 35 U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs this year because of vacancies in Minnesota and Mississippi.
The term of office of U.S. congressmen is only two years. Our congressmen are elected to a three-year term but we often hear complaints that the threeyear period is too short for a good congressman and too long for a bad one.
Like their counterparts in the Senate, House representatives are not bound by any term limit. They can offer themselves for reelection for as long as they want. Filipino congressmen who are salivating at the prospect of deleting the term limits in the constitution that they insist on drafting must have been inspired by the American model.
How do we compare the quality of their candidates for senators, congressmen and yes, governors to ours? Here are sam pl es:
In Arizona, the Republican candidate for senator, Martha McSally holds a master’s degree from the Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Regarded as one of the highest ranking female pilots in the US Air Force, she was the first female commander of a USAF fighter squadron. Her Democratic opponent is Kyrsten Sinema, who has a master’s degree in social work and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies.
In Virginia, the Democratic candidate for the House, Elaine Luria, is a former naval commander. Her opponent, Scott Taylor, was a member of the US Navy SEAL. In Florida, Republican senatorial candidate Bill Nelson went to Yale University, served in Vietnam and was an astronaut in the Space Shuttle Columbia. His opponent, Ric Scott, is a lawyer, who also served in the Navy.
In Georgia, the Republican bet for governor, Brian Kemp, went to the University of Georgia where he majored in agriculture. His opponent, Stacey Abrams, has a master’s degree in Public Affairs and a Juris Doctor from the Yale Law School.
That’s it, no actors, no dropouts and certainly no jailbirds. If it’s any consolation to us, Kemp, the aforementioned Republican bet for governor in Florida, has obstinately held on to his seat as Secretary of State even if that office supervises the elections, including that for governor. The lack of delicadeza in politics is an area where we outpace the Americans but they seem to be not too far behind.