Fil-Ams ramp up campaign for Trump, Biden in battleground states

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2020 03:47 PM

Filipino-Americans campaigning for Trump-Pence. Photo courtesy of Herman Martir

With three weeks to go before the Nov. 3 elections in the United States, Filipino-American groups are ramping up campaign efforts for their respective presidential candidates especially in battleground states.

The group Filipino-Americans for Trump has been mobilizing voters, distributing different materials to educate people on various issues that affect Americans, and making sure that they register to vote.
The group has just finished a caravan across 17 states and 21 cities to encourage people to vote to keep President Donald Trump in the White House. 

Texas-based Herman Martir believes Filipino-Americans can be the “swing vote” in the elections. Martir works as a Trump campaign adviser and surrogate for the Trump campaign.

“We might surprise America. Filipinos can be the swing vote. 4.2 million of us in America. I believe majority will vote for President Trump and maybe, maybe, we will surprise America with the Filipino vote because they know, the Filipinos know that the President supports the issues that concern us,” Martir told ABS-CBN News.

“We wanna make sure that every Filipino vote counts. The Filipinos have a vote in this election. Many of them are tired of the looting. Many of them are tired of the violence. So I’ve seen a surge of support for President Trump in all battleground states, in Nevada, also here in Texas as well, because Texas has been considered a battleground state now. And also we’re working on Minnesota and Michigan. Not a battleground state but we like it’s important that we give a voice to… Filipino-Americans in Illinois,” he added.

Filipino-Americans campaigning for Biden-Harris in Nevada. Photo courtesy of Filipino-Americans for Biden-Harris

Filipino-Americans campaigning for the Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, are sparing no efforts as well.

The group Filipino-Americans for Biden has been organizing various virtual events, as well as phone banking to make calls and texts for the Biden-Harris team.

They have also organized a “Sing The Vote” virtual karaoke competition to raise awareness and get the Filipino-American vote out for Biden-Harris 2020, aside from doing field work while exercising health precautions.

The group’s logo for the Biden-Harris campaign features a Filipino jeepney and the sun from the Philippine flag. 

“I do believe that we need, not only I believe, but the data shows that we need a leader who really represents our community and really allows us to take the platform to voice what’s important as far as issues that affect our communities (are concerned),” Kristine Medina, the Florida co-state director for Filipino-Americans for Biden, told ABS-CBN News.

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Polling in 12 battleground states shows Biden leading against Trump, according to results from Real Clear Politics polling averages shown by Jon McHenry, Vice President of North Star Opinion Research.

McHenry says Florida, along with the senior vote, is crucial for a Trump re-election.

“President Trump needs to win Florida, plus one more of these in the rust belt, in order to win… It's a very tough map for him to win re-election if he doesn't win Florida. The caveat there, I would say, and those of you who remember election night in 2000, watch what the seniors have done in Florida,” McHenry said in a briefing with selected journalists participating in the virtual reporting tour on the US Elections organized by the US Department of State’s Foreign Press Centers.

Trump snatched 29 electoral votes after winning Florida in 2016 with around a 100,000-vote margin versus Hillary Clinton. In 2000, it was Florida that decided the elections for George W. Bush.

The latest Quinnipiac University Poll of October 7, 2020 showed Biden enjoying a wide lead of 51-40 against Trump in Florida.

Quinnipiac University Poll Director and Vice President Doug Schwartz confirmed the importance of Florida as key to winning the elections.

“Florida has been critical, especially for Republicans that they really need that state. But it is also a key state for Democrats. And looking at this election, if Joe Biden wins Florida, you can pretty much assume he’s got the election, that this is really a state that President Trump needs to keep in his corner. He won last time, as I mentioned, by a percentage point. He will really need Florida in order to win this election,” Schwartz said in a separate briefing.
Filipino-Americans working for Biden in the “Sunshine State” are taking no chances and want to make sure supporters of the former vice president actually cast their ballot.

“The numbers are looking good. But I always wanna remind people that regardless of what the polls say, we still need to do the work because election day is still (weeks) away, and that any moment, with Florida being one of the biggest battleground states,… always the last state to be the ultimate decision to flip the presidential election, I always wanna remind people that the work is still ongoing. Unless it’s November 4, the work is still ongoing even after that,” Medina said.

McHenry defines “battleground states” as any state that flipped between the two parties in 2016, which include Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Iowa; and any state that was decided by 5 points or fewer in 2016, which include Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine, and North Carolina.
Texas, considered “safe previously,” now counts as contested under a different criteria, according to McHenry. Trump has an almost 3-point advantage over Biden in Texas (48.4-45.2), according to Real Clear Politics polling averages. The state has 38 electoral votes in the electoral college.