What US Filipino Voters Think; And if the Walis Tambo Man Goes Down, Why Not Trump?

by Emil Guillermo

Is there a powerful, united “Filipino vote”?

In my last column, I think it’s inconclusive. At least, there didn’t seem to be one when it comes to Vicki Cayetano for governor. Is it a harsher judgment that her business acumen and having once lived in the governor’s residence don’t make her competitive with the current lieutenant governor?

While there doesn’t appear to be a bloc “Filipino vote” one can rely on in Hawaii, there’s new national data on Filipino Voters that shows what influences our vote.

The Asian American Voter Survey comes out every two years, and unlike most polls, it samples 1,601 registered Asian American voters by cellphone, landline and online, in English and Asian languages, but not Tagalog/Ilocano. An imperfection? Perhaps.

But the survey is credible enough to have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent for Asian Americans. There’s a large enough sample size for every ethnic group, including 257 Filipinos that makes for a margin of error of +/- 6. Few polls ever drill down that deep.

The survey says of Asian American Voters who intend to vote in November for House of Representatives races, 52% of Filipinos say they will vote Democrat and 23% say Republican. In Senate races, it’s 50% Democrat and 32% Republican.

In terms of favorability, Filipinos were the most pro-Biden among Asian American voters with 53% choosing “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable,” while 43% said they were “somewhat unfavorable” to “very unfavorable.”

As for Trump, Filipinos were just 35% “very favorable” to “somewhat favorable.” More than 60% of Filipinos were “somewhat unfavorable” to “very unfavorable.”

As for the issues that influenced Filipino voters, Filipinos surpassed the general Asian American trend by saying healthcare was extremely to very important (66%); Then came jobs and the economy (65%); inflation (65%); and education (62%).Once again, it’s rare to find a survey with a decent sampling that allows you to say anything about Filipinos. That’s the value of the Asian American Voter Survey (AAVS).

It’s data that gives us a little better sense of an American Filipino vote.

The Walis Tambo Guy is Guilty, But Not Donald Trump?
The AAVS didn’t ask about January 6.

But when it comes to that fateful day, I’m thinking of all of us. Especially American Filipinos like Kene Lazo of Norfolk, Virginia. On that day, he carried a boi-boi, or “Walis Tambo” into the Capitol rotunda to, in his own insurrectionist way, sweep out Washington.

Lazo pleaded guilty last March, as did more than 320 people of the nearly 900 people charged in connection to the riot. But shouldn’t the man who led Lazo and the rest of the rioters be held accountable?

On the eighth hearing of the Jan. 6. Select Committee, we learned a few more details of what former President Trump was doing while the Capitol was under siege.

Basically, nothing.

Trump was like the arsonist admiring his reflection in the fire he set. He told people to come to the Capitol and indeed, they came.High-level White House aides and true-blue Republicans like White House counsel Pat Cipollone, once again testified under oath that Trump was watching it all unfold on television for 187 minutes.

That number will forever be associated with our democracy 187 minutes, the threshold for almost losing what we gained in 1776.

Fans of antiquity will instantly turn to Nero, who is said to have fiddled as Rome burned in the summer of 64 CE (AD).Trump was fiddling too. But not with calls to the National Guard or to others who could quell the crowd. Trump called senators to help him continue to thwart the certification vote scheduled for that day, as well as his main henchman, Rudy Giuliani.But Trump mostly watched Fox News and liked what he saw, especially when the mob provided the lyrics to the mayhem of his making. Who can forget the memorable “Hang Mike Pence”?

They could have been saying all our names.There was another chant in the crowd too. “Kill him with his own gun!” That was what people were saying of Officer Michael Fanone, the DC Metropolitan Police Officer who was punched and kicked and dragged face-down some Capitol steps.

And that’s when Fanone brought up his secret weapon, his three Asian American children.

“I have kids,” pleaded Fanone, now divorced from his Chinese American wife. On the day Fanone put his life on the line for his country, he was living with his mom, working a second job to save for a down payment on a house for him and his daughters – Piper, 9; Mei-Mei, 7; and Hensley, 5. They were the most important people in his life.

That his kids are multiracial is significant. Fanone’s kids are the democracy we’re all fighting for, the new America.

Race rants and apologies
You’ll recall the recent 2020 Census. The two or more races population sometimes called multiracial, has gone from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020, a 276% increase.

America is changing. It’s becoming a little browner like Hawaii. Whites are still the largest group at 204.3 million, but that number has decreased by 8.6% since 2010.

That fact has led to growing resentment among the Right. And Jan. 6, despite the boi boi guy, was really an expression of White Rage.Note the audio rant by former Trump aide Garret Ziegler, who testified before the January 6 committee recently.

Ziegler said he invoked his right to remain silent through the Fifth Amendment or executive privilege in most of his answers before the committee.But he did not stay silent on social media. Online, Ziegler called the committee an “anti-white campaign, and if you can’t see that your eyes are freaking closed.”

This is our polarized America now. While Ziegler chooses to dig in and insist that he is not a racist, we have seen other rioters repentant for what they’ve done.

Rioter Stephen Ayres testified to the committee at the seventh hearing and then tried to apologize to Officer Fanone.Fanone was asked about the apology and told CNN (where he now works as an analyst) that he was caught off guard and didn’t remember Ayres’ exact words. But he said apologies are deeply personal and private moments.

“Save the apologies,” Fanone said. “And that goes for anyone involved on January 6. The way [the apology] was carried out I found disingenuous, and you know, in regards to January 6, I’m sorry, I am not anyone’s rest stop on the road to redemption.”

His phrasing stopped me cold.In 2012, I interviewed by phone Vincent Chin’s killer, and Ronald Ebens apologized. I heard it. But it wasn’t up to me to either accept it or to judge him. I was an opinion journalist. If anything, I wanted to know why Ebens has continued to avoid the judgment against him that he owes to the Chin estate.

I wish I had Fanone’s line to respond to Ebens’ apology. “I am not anyone’s rest stop on the road to redemption.”

Road to justice
I imagine many more will want to apologize for their actions on January 6, perhaps sooner than later.

But don’t expect any apologies from Trump, who recently campaigned for an election denier in Arizona. He’s even made calls to a Wisconsin official to sway the certification of the state’s 2020 vote.

Recently, Trump was back in DC brandishing his harshest rhetoric at a First America Institute event where he called for more police funding, crackdowns on immigration, a return of “stop and frisk, and a generally more authoritarian America.

Odd for a guy who wouldn’t protect the police on January 6.

President Biden pointed out the hypocrisy. “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-cop,” Biden said. “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American.”

But Trump thinks he can. The January 6 hearings show that after the Big Lie, America has more than a tolerance for Trump’s lies. American Filipino Republican lawyer and commentator George Conway called Thursday’s hearing “a devastating portrait, not just of dereliction, but depravity by the president, and derangement.”

That makes Trump at the very least a triple-D threat.Cheney: Trump’s actions “indefensible” No matter where you are in the political spectrum, you have to admire January 6 committee co-chair Liz Cheney’s closing statement. The hearings are no witch hunt.

Cheney called it “a series of confessions” by Donald Trump’s own Republican appointees, friends, campaign officials, and even his own family.

“They have come forward and they have told the American people the truth.”

Then Cheney played a public comment of Steve Bannon, the Trump aide who was found guilty in contempt of Congress recently and faces jail time for ignoring a subpoena to testify. Bannon described how it was Trump’s strategy to “declare victory,” claim the election was stolen (without evidence) and do some “crazy sh-t.”

And all because Trump knew he could convince millions of supporters to do his bidding.“He is preying on their sense of patriotism,” Cheney said. “He is preying on their sense of justice and on January 6, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our Capitol and our Constitution.”

That is a crime. Yet only Trump’s followers who rioted like Stephen Ayres and Kene Lazo have been charged. Why not Trump, the man who incited the riot?

“Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, to ignore the ongoing violence against law enforcement, to threaten our constitutional order,” Cheney said. “There is no way to excuse that behavior. It was indefensible. And every American must consider this: Can a president who was willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?”

The answer is always a resounding, “NO,” if America is to remain a strong and vital democracy.

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the Inquirer’s North American Bureau. He talks about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.

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