Election post- mortem: Repudiating the old "narrowtives"
Photo of Ronald "Bato de la Rosa", senator elect(ctto)

The results of the 2019 midterm elections are not only a referendum of the current administration. They also herald the end of old narrow narratives, which we will call "narrowtives" and false dichotomies. Judging by the outcome, this has gone in favor of candidates perceived to be able to deliver on the tough task of governance ahead.

The opposition did what they could to revive interest in their way of seeing things, particularly the EDSA narrative based on elite democracy and its emphasis on freedom of expression and human rights, with the recent warning of dictatorship added to scare people into buying their views.

These loud voices were ignored as background noise. The sheer absence of local candidates to carry their campaign was the obvious sign that their message and image was something to avoid.

As it was then as it it is today, the mass electorate didn`t really connect with the fine points of the EDSA narrative, who most feel never really delivered yet tried to use them.

The electorate replaced this in 1998 with the election of Joseph Estrada and the rise of the next "narrowtive", that of the patronage based actor politicians.

This other group, likewise failed to deliver after 20 years, and now faces defeat in the hearts of many. They could not even deliver the same expected votes for people like Bong Revilla. As of presstime, he hangs on to 12th place, a far cry from the top 5-6 placing he had in pre election surveys.

As it is with the senatorial elections, the local elections show a major change against this showbiz elite and old patronage based political families.

A change of the guards with the Estrada family failing to gain any local positions in Manila and San Juan and old political families in Cebu and Pasig falling against newcomers. The masa appeal of patronage no longer sells. The old loyalties and names no longer carry the same weight as they used to.

Apart from the narrowtives, old dichotomies such as "marcos vs. yellow" no longer resonate with most people. For most voters, this is history read in books. Curiously, the oppositions tirades against senatorial candidate Imee Marcos may have helped keep her noticed above the din, and secured for her more votes.

In this age of walking your talk and being true to your self, people look towards candidates who they feel can deliver, or believe they have shown a capability to deliver on promises. People like Bong Go and Bato de la Rosa, despite not being "Manila intellectuals" seem to fit this bill.

Even Francis Tolentino, Cynthia Villlar, Pia Cayetano and Sonny Angara, despite not being boisterous politicians and not known for their dance routines exude that gentle yet effective capability owing to credible backgrounds.

This new Congress will have their hands full delivering on the implementation and perhaps, fine tuning of the many tough and necessary reforms passed during the first half of the Duterte presidency.