I've been monitoring the 2006 US Midterm Elections at the New York Times website. As widely predicted, the Democratic Party has indeed taken control of the House, 229-196, after a 16 seat net gain in the elections. Complete results of the House race are here. House SPEAKER-APPARENT Nancy Pelosi addressed a cheering crowd of the Party faithful, saying that they were on the verge of a great Democratic election victory. She said they would take America in a new direction in the war on Iraq. "Stay the course has not made our country safer...we cannot continue down this catastrophic path...The campaign is over, the Democrats are prepared to lead...we are ready to govern...in partnership not partisanship. From sea to shining sea the American people voted for change...Today we make history..."
San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi will most likely be the United States first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. Most observers agree she is at the most liberal end of the liberal Democrats. As the 2008 elections come into view, she will be a force in American politics along with Hillary Rodham Clinton, said to be the Democratic front-runner for that future presidential elections.
However, as late as midnight EST, the Senate race was too close to call. To take the Senate the Democrats must gain six seats. They have gained 3 of those at this point in time. It's all down to three states.
CNN is reporting that a cliff hanger between Democrat Jim Webb and Republican incumbent George Allen in Virginia could end up deciding who controls the US Senate. There is already talk of recounts, lawsuits, provisional ballot counts, absentee ballot counts, voting machine snafus. Sounds like an election!
Pia Hontiveros (Strictly Politics) had on David Kuchenbecker of Democrats Abroad and Doyle Stout of Republicans Abroad, who represent members of the respective political parties in Manila, to discuss the now-ongoing US midterm elections. Conventional wisdom says the Democrats will probably take control of the Lower House of the US Congress, but David Kuchenbecker thinks everyone will have to stay up "til around midnight election day" to find out if the Republicans will also lose control of the US Senate.
Also on Pia's show was Jonathan Melegrito of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) in Maryland to ask him an interesting question: Is there such a thing as a Filipino American vote? Do Filipinos vote predominantly Republican or Democrat.
I suppose a related question is, how many Filipinos are there in the United States and how many of them are eligible to vote? Unfortunately there are no hard and fast numbers since Filipinos are not counted as a separate group in the US Census. Estimates therefore range from a low of2 million to a high of 4 million Filipino-Americans of various immigration and citizenship status.
Filipinos are a readily identifiable voting bloc, such as for example blacks or chicanos and other minorities, but unlike them Filipino-Americans have not become organized enough to be a force on their own. I believe part of this phenomenon is paradoxically due to the easy process of assimilation and adjustment Filipinos have when emigrating to America. It seems they are better prepared for life there than in their own land, some wags have observed. What this means is that there are no "Pinoy towns" as such, like the Chinatowns in every major city. And even though there are large concentrations of Filipinos in places like San Francisco or New Jersey, they so easily fit into the wider society and are largely successful in their professions and businesses so that they are not cocooned into a closed community of Filipinos only. Most Filipino-American immigrants are readily integrated into American society.
This is of course not true for all Filipino Americans. For example, Filipino veterans of World War II have really gotten a raw deal and their ranks are thinning out quickly before justice is given to them for faithful and loyal service in the United State Military. I salute the long and lonely fight for rights and benefits for Filipino veterans being waged by persons such Eric Lachica of USFilVets.