Saturday, September 05, 2015

46. Bloc Voting

Legend has it that Diosdado Macapagal lost to Ferdinand Marcos in the 1965 elections, because Marcos solicited the 500,000 Iglesia ni Cristo votes. Macapagal publicly declared his disapproval to the bloc voting practice by the religious sect, and lost to Marcos by about 600,000 votes. Since then, the bloc voting Iglesia Ni Cristo had been a mythical game changer in Philippine elections. Many have spoken against the evils of bloc voting, but it makes sense for a politician to court these votes, because it gives him a sure number for the win. The common sense approach to winning an election is by determining the majority of the average turn-out of the voting population, divided by the number of strong candidates. That is the magic number. The politician is always scrounging for votes to get that number. And if there is a bloc vote from an organization, sect, or other interest groups, then that would deliver a big chunk of that magic number; the politician would be hooked. It also makes perfect sense for any organization to create a bloc vote knowing that politicians would be after them all the time. The real world scenario, however, is there is always a trade-off for that vote. An appointment here and there, a radio or tv frequency, a mining claim, a free patent to a public land, or a big ticket housing loan -- as the song goes "everything counts in large amounts." Plato warned us in "The Republic" of the ills of democracy that could give rise to tyranny. In a democratic environment, as shown by the Philippine experience, these bloc voters could become unruly. Say for example, they want the Secretary of Justice to come from their ranks, so none of the cases filed against their brethren would prosper. They could potentially dictate how the law could be applied. Further, as politicians are always haggling with other interest groups which always get what they want so long as they deliver the votes, society would degenerate, and there would be anarchy. The anarchy would then create a vacuum for the rise of tyranny. For this reason, Plato batted for a better government ran by a philosopher king. A philosopher king would not haggle with the bloc voters, because the philosopher king would always think about the general welfare. Unfortunately, the closest thing the world ever had to a philosopher king was Solomon, and Solomon is just one of the kings in the Iglesia's and Catholic's Book of Kings. Solomon also never had to deal with the bloc voters. He became king upon proclamation by his father, David, and not by a popular vote; albeit, it evokes a good feeling to think about how, if he were alive in a modern democracy, Solomon would turn these bloc voters away, especially when they come demanding for their spoils. 

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