Monday, October 19, 2015

KMT Crampain II: Cheese with that? ...and polls!

Two of the manliest men I know explore what passes for a beach in Taichung.

How do you know the KMT campaign buses have arrived in your neighborhood? Because when the engines shut off, you can still hear the whine...

Well, the new and probably far grimmer campaign got off to a start with both candidates promising not to get nasty. Next stage: the "they did it first!" claim.
Sitting down to talk "absolutely is not a problem for me," Chu said. He said he has never engaged in negative campaigning as he does not support malicious attacks or smearing tactics.

"It is absolutely not necessary to engage in negative campaigning, after which the winner will carry scars all over," he said.
Chu's lofty remarks at the Congress where he got the nomination:
During his speech, Chu called on all party members to unite, saying, “If the KMT suffers a humiliating defeat, Taiwan will be dominated by a single party, the DPP. Without checks and balances at all levels of government and parliament, there can be no democracy. Will there be checks and balances or democracy in Taiwan if we allow a political party to control Taiwan’s politics across the board, which tends to engage in confrontation/street protests, and to block legislative proceedings by occupying the Legislative Yuan Speaker’s podium? Will Taiwan become a nation ruled by one party? Will teachers teach their students a one-party ideology? Think about it. This is why we worry about the future of Taiwan’s democracy.”
The KMT deploring one-party rule? Irony is not only dead, its corpse has been exhumed, mutilated, and publicly displayed for 40 days. Of course, when Chu deplores "one-party ideology", he's speaking in code to the other members of his colonial ruling class: "if the population's identification with Taiwan expands, we're dead." That is why the Ma Administration is desperately attempting to get the curriculum changed before it leaves office.

The big news is that Chu is taking a leave of absence from his mayoral duties. They aren't giving up New Taipei City to the DPP. His leave of absence is essentially a public a concession that he is going to lose. The position is being handed over to his deputy, who, as Solidarity pointed out on Twitter, "Acting New Taipei Mayor Hou Youyi was a bodyguard for Chu's father in law and a police officer involved in Cheng Nanjung's 鄭南榕 suicide." Chu said that he was running for President to save Taiwan's democracy, the thing so many of his mainlander compatriots had fought so hard to suppress:
"I had previously said on many occasions that I would not join the 2016 presidential election. But at this crucial moment, it was a decision I had no choice but to make, to improve the health of Taiwan's democracy," he said
By "saving Taiwan's democracy" he means saving the legislature for the KMT, to preserve "balance." This whine is going to be their campaign theme! This is a remarkably defensive and inward looking stance to take, a symptom of how deeply the KMT has been wounded. It also means that the campaign is going to be negative -- since Chu can't win, he has nothing to lose. Which is good, because the KMT will not be offering policy packages (I mean, policy packages that aren't outright bribes) or kind words or empathy for the suffering public or long-term plans or even a coherent philosophy. At the moment, it looks like the Chu campaign is going to fail miserably.

If it does, it will be a failure of its own making, for the legislature is KMT dominated and has been for decades, and yet it is worthless. How can Chu offer a coherent and progressive policy package of any kind based on the legislature? The KMT has made it useless, and the public knows that.

Still waiting to hear whether any of Hung's campaign people are working/not working for Chu.

Even worse for the KMT, export orders fell again last month. The KMT will be running as the incumbent party that has presided over economic decline.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers at WSJ argues that the KMT election drama is a message to Beijing.

Early polls are out everywhere. The Cross Strait Policy Association, a pro-KMT organization, has a Tsai-Chu race at 54-27 for Tsai. With Soong in, it's 45-21-13 (Soong). Interestingly, the poll found that 41% of those polled felt Chu had no choice but to betray his promise not run, even though 53% felt he had broken it. Apple Daily had Tsai at 45 and Chu at 26.

The top chart for the SETV poll shows that Tsai leads in Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung, the latter traditionally KMT strongholds. It also shows that the one place in the nation where Tsai loses to Chu is the offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu, where he beats her 23-21. Note that in the crucial central region battleground it's not even close (second image, third numbers), with Tsai in a blowout, 42.9 to 15.4. She also has double digit leads across the north. The bottom poll is the national one, with Tsai up 41-20.

In every poll Tsai enjoys ~20 point margins. Soong has faded to around 10% and will fall. Chu is not topping 30%. And given the way the campaign is likely to go, this might well be his high point...
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Anonymous said...

The original of that whining joke:
“How do you know,” the Australians used to ask, “when a planeload of Poms has arrived at Sydney Airport? Because”, the answer went, “the whining doesn’t stop when the engines are cut.”

les said...

The longest leave a sitting mayor can take happens to be 90 days. Eric Chu has been drafted to run for President just 90 days before the election and has announced he take a leave of absence until the election. Still think the timing of Hung's replacement is coincidence or accident? This is the only way Chu can run for President while keeping his day job and I believe this plan was laid out before Hung was confirmed as the candidate.

Mike Fagan said...

"...when the engines shut off, you can still hear the whine..."

Fuck's sake. This is why editors were invented.

Seamus said...

Just came back from seeing 'Wansei Back Home'. Hadn't realized you'd already given it a mention, and was about to mention it to you myself. Anyway, excellent documentary. Some really interesting stories.

Carlos said...

les, that's a good observation. Seems like a fairly suicidal tactic, though.

Michael Turton said...

The longest leave a sitting mayor can take happens to be 90 days. Eric Chu has been drafted to run for President just 90 days before the election and has announced he take a leave of absence until the election. Still think the timing of Hung's replacement is coincidence or accident? This is the only way Chu can run for President while keeping his day job and I believe this plan was laid out before Hung was confirmed as the candidate.

I think you may be right. I've been thinking about this fact for two days.

frozengarlic said...

It's better not to get too excited about what any single poll shows in regional breakdowns because the sample size is simply too small. You really need about 400 interviews to get a stable estimate. The typical survey report breaks the standard 1000 responses into five or six regions, so none are really big enough to be confident about (especially the East Coast, which is the smallest of the groups). Of course, if you repeatedly see the same trend over several surveys (even in relatively small sample sizes), you can start to take the results more seriously.

Anonymous said...

The 90-day leave of absence is not unrealistic planning. Of course the KMT was planning this in advance. These guys are not amateurs. Now, expect the KMT to start turning the screws on the media they control (and don't control) and get them to stop reporting on DPP and Tsai and focus almost exclusively on the accounting geek. In Xinbei, Chu will use his mayoral authority to block any DPP rallies in the most populated part of the country. It will be a media cascade of KMTness, no doubt finessed in only the way the KMT power base knows how. Expect to see deceit, power-plays, threats, and doublespeak. Just before the election China will do something, and the pro-China asslikkers in the US will add their crappy 2 cents to scare the public into voting against the DPP. I predict the KMT will easily maintain the majority in the legislature, and have a reasonably good chance of smashing Tsai.

Anonymous said...

Chu again:

“These politicians used this ploy to interfere in the election. I very much disagree with their actions. They are causing a lot of damage to Taiwan’s democracy”

Hah... a KMT'er defending democracy...what a sad joke. I cringe every time I hear a KMTard mention how important a fair legal system is.

Les is right on the money, this was a setup all along. I think BenGoran pointed this out a few weeks ago as well.