By Paul Henson, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Nov. 4, 2014
DALY CITY, Calif. – As Americans troop to polling centers today, among the positions that are at stake are 36 Senate seats, 435 House seats, among other positions.
Although turnout is usually lower during midterms compared to presidential elections, the polls today are critical.
If the Republicans regain control of the Senate, analysts say President Obama has to change the way he runs the White House in his last two years in office.
In Daly City, Calif., which has a high Filipino American population, although things are a bit slow, those who voted say they are keeping a close watch.
Two Filipino Americans are running for reelection in the city council of Daly City — Mike Guingona and Ray Buenaventura. Both have served as mayors.
Fil-Am voters here say they are supporting the two because the Filipino voice should be heard in the council.
“Because we are Filipinos in Daly City, we need help wherever we can get help. They’re there to help us and it’s easy to communicate with them,” said Daly City resident Dorie Paniza.
The housing is very expensive. Especially the mortgage. It’s very hard to buy a new house, especially in this time. And especially the concern is jobs,” Aida Almojuela, also a resident of Daly City, said.
But in this city of more than 35,000 Filipinos, some estimates show less than a third show up to vote.
“Filipino voters, the mentality is still the same as we have in the Philippines. That if you cannot get something out of it, they are not really enthusiastic to vote,” Fil-Am community leader Perla Ibarrientos said.
A recent USA Today survey shows two-thirds of voters say America is facing more challenging problems today than usual.
People are anxious about the economy and job creation, a possible long battle against ISIS, and the threat of Ebola.
Immigrant advocates are also waiting impatiently for Obama’s executive action on immigration reform.
With the balance of power at stake, and leaning in favor of the Republicans, Daly City’s Fil-Am candidates foresee challenges over at Capitol Hill and for President Obama.
“I don’t know what it’s going to take to move the gridlock along in Washington, if it’s going to have to be a total shift in the balance of power. I don’t know. But I think that in these midterm elections there are going to be some affects. Clearly the balance is going to shift. What the Republicans are going to do with the majority – who knows?” Guingona said.
I am hopeful. I’m just an optimistic person. Once the change happens, everyone will realize that we have to work together. Otherwise nothing is going to get done. And that is terrible for our country,” Buenventura said.
Whatever the results, voters hope the Republicans and Democrats can work together after the polls. Members of the Fil-Am community hope more will turn up so the Filipinos can become an influential voting bloc.