Wenceslao: The middle class

·3 min read

In the old days, we used to spend time doing class analysis. We depicted the classes in the Philippines as akin to a triangle, with the majority of peasants and workers at the base. The workers and peasants are the masses who determine the path history will take. While the upper classes control the economy, they constitute the smaller portion of the population, the smaller upper tip of the triangle. While the middle classes are also smaller in number, they are crucial in tilting public opinion to those they favor.

Dividing the population into classes is also part of the methodology of surveys. They attach letters to classes, with the rich assigned the letter “A” and so on down the line. In the coming presidential election, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo are engaged in a tug-of-war for the sympathy of the masses. Marcos is the frontrunner in surveys but could not muster the crowds Robredo gathers routinely in her rallies.

From the start, Robredo has been the darling of the middle class, whose power is being strengthened by its control of current technology, or social media. The masses was the base of President Rodrigo Duterte, whose daughter Sara is the running mate of Marcos. No wonder Marcos initially got the support of some Duterte supporters among the masses. Their fanaticism of Duterte has been transferred to Marcos.

In the initial stages of the campaign, I actually questioned the theory about the middle class being able to tilt public opinion. Can the middle class sway the election in Robredo’s way? While the survey ratings initially barely moved, it now looks to me like they are now tilting toward Robredo. The survey numbers may not show this yet, but the Robredo momentum seems to be gaining traction in the crowds Robredo gathers in all regions.

This has worried the supposed to be also-rans because the presidential election seems to have become a two-way battle. The middle class has become very crucial to the Robredo campaign, turning the “pink movement” into a genuine people’s movement. Her campaign has left Isko Moreno, Panfilo Lacson and the others in the dust. Press conferences could no longer save them because the balance has tilted to Robredo.

I was one of those who thought a long time ago that the Robredo effort to unite the opposition was unnecessary. I felt that she should instead take the cudgels for the opposition on her own strength. To paraphrase a popular quote in the movie “Field of Dreams,” I thought then that she should rather go on with her candidacy and the people would come.

When Robredo early on trailed badly in the surveys, Lacson proposed a unification formula: They will run and whoever of them ranks highest in the initial polls will become the unified candidate. Robredo opposed that because it would be unfair to their supporters if they ran and then backed out.

Now that Robredo has gained momentum and has a better chance of defeating Marcos, they now want Robredo to withdraw her candidacy. Selfish.

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