Comparative Politics: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Rodrigo Duterte and the rise of populist leaders


Yesterday, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was officially proclaimed as the duly elected 16th President of the Philippines after defeating administration candidate ex-DILG Secretary Manuel “Mar” Araneta Roxas II. This, despite the administration’s clear and obvious attempt to cheat Duterte. Vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos was not lucky enough to get through the cheating by the administration. Fortunately, Duterte’s support was too strong and his lead was too huge to overcome.

What happened? It was simply the post-Marcos administration’s failures that led the Filipino people to elect another seemingly authoritarian leader. The failures were exacerbated by the current government of Benigno Aquino III. His lack of leadership after the Luneta Hostage Crisis, the Al-Barka Massacre in 2011, and last year’s Mamasapano Massacre highlighted the impotence of his administration. Then, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who Aquino ignored in the Mamasapano administration blew his last chance to bolt the administration in an honorable statesman fashion. Roxas chose to stay, and eventually, it cost him the election.

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If you look at it, the three candidates critical of the Aquino administration –Rodrigo Duterte, Jejomar Binay, and Miriam Defensor Santiago- combined for majority of the votes cast for president. In other words, Aquino has no one but himself to blame for the Duterte victory and perhaps what is actually a Marcos victory. Duterte, a candidate running against the political and economic establishment, overwhelmingly defeated Roxas who was running for the establishment while being backed by 55 provincial governors and over 800 town and city mayors. Not to mention, Duterte won in Quezon City, which is the home turf of Roxas’ family.

Such results show the wide dissatisfaction with the establishment. As mentioned earlier, had they not failed, Duterte would not stand a chance of winning. The victory of Duterte represents a radical change in the political system in the Philippines due to huge public anger. Coincidentally, the rise of new radical leaders is not only happening in the Philippines.

In the United States, we have two. First, there is Democratic Party presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Like Duterte, Sanders is an anti-establishment candidate. When he announced his presidential run last year, most analysts said that Sanders’ campaign was dead in the water. Hardly anyone could blame them, as Sanders trailed party favorite and establishment candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton by 60 points in the national polls. Then came the primary season. Sanders would pull a tie with Clinton in Iowa. Then, he scored a blowout victory in New Hampshire. To this day the Sanders campaign, although trailing, remains standing and is looking for an improbable comeback against Clinton.

Another is Donald Trump of the Republican Party. The real estate magnate from New York is also running on an anti-establishment platform. Not to mention, his brash and politically incorrect tone is similar to Duterte’s. Trump is more fortunate than Sanders, however. Trump had recently clinched the Republican Party nomination and based on the trends of the latest national polls, is actually poised to defeat Hillary Clinton in November. The Donald ran over 16 other candidates for the Republican nomination which had a good mix of up and coming leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio and traditional neoconservatives like Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

If Bernie Sanders manages to get the Democratic nomination, then the United States is in for a radical change regardless of who wins between him and Trump. And it is not only in the US where this is happening. Notably, it is currently occurring in Europe amid the rise of radical Islam in the region. Austria a few days ago almost elected a far-right leader to their presidency. Norbert Hofer missed out by just 31,000 votes.

Additionally, nationalist leaders are also in power in Poland and Hungary. Besides Hofer, there is France’s Marine Le Pen. In the United Kingdom, there is Boris Johnson. In Norway, you have Sylvi Listhaug, Kristian Thulesen Dahl in Denmark, and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands. These right-wing populist leaders along with Trump actually differ from Sanders in some respects because they ride on anti-Islamic sentiment. To their credit, however, tolerance has allowed massive Islamic immigration to Europe and assimilation has become difficult. Thus, many sectors of the Islamic population in Europe have called for the Islamization of the region.

All these circumstances were products of the policies of the mainstream political establishment in Europe. Like in the Philippines, the political establishment in the West has shown its failure and that it only seeks to represent the elites. This is where Sanders, Duterte, Trump and Europe’s right-wing populists agree on. It does not necessarily mean that all these people have to win. What’s important is the trends. And the trend is that all over the world, the people are shouting. The world will never accept globalism and elite rule.

6 Replies to “Comparative Politics: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Rodrigo Duterte and the rise of populist leaders”

  1. you are correct in everything here except for Bernie Sanders. His popular has surged in the last three months due to him being picked as the only person that can beat Donald Trump. This is what his campaign and followers have been focusing on. This is why he was he did not matter until an few months ago, when it appeared that Trump was indeed going to be the winner of the Republican’s party people, not the establishment. Unfortunately for Sanders, it is too little too late.

  2. Hofer, per example, being elected in Austria would have had no consequences, aside from international idiotic media articles painting him in a bad light, because the President in Austria has no actual power. He can inagurate a highway, that’s it. Just wanted to point this out as it does not fit as a comparison to other people being elected as President.

  3. People of the world are just fed up, with the establishment. The Traditional politicians, failed to deliver, what they promised. They refuse to do their job properly.

    So, these populist newcomers, represent the frustrations; the anger of the people.

    All over the world, people are angrily shouting: “Enough is Enough… !

    Unluckily, in the Philippines. These establishment politicians; represented by: Aquino; Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo, Porky Drilon; the Liberal Party; etc…managed to cheat their way to power. With the aid of the : COMELEC, SMARTMATIC, fellow conspirators, etc…they frustrated the will of the Filipino people desire for change !

    It is time for the Filipino people to fight back…not take this Electoral Fraud for granted.

    An Elephant tied to a string, will remain captive; if it thinks itself captive.

    An Elephant is a powerful animal; but it remains captive with the string, because, it thinks itself as captive. My fellow Filipinos: we are that Elephant !

  4. The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-.

    Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal.

    Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people.

    Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that it’s nothing personal.

    Well, fuck them. Make it personal.

  5. Geert Wilders (Netherlands) and his political party (PVV) is a 3-issue party.
    – closing the borders
    – leaving the EU (as in Britain with the Brexit)
    – All muslims out.

    Right at this moment he has about 29-33 seats (out of a total of 150). To reign and rule by one party, that party needs 50% + 1 of all possible seats. That is 76 seats. If no single party gets that absolute majority then a coalition is needed.

    Eligible voters dont need to register specifically in order to vote. One is 18 years old (and older) and has the Dutch nationality, then that person can vote.

    The number of total eligible voters is approx 12 million out of a 17 million total population. Elections always take place on a Wednesday and are still working days for those who have a job.

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