Friday, April 13, 2018

Elections in a post-colonial context

But alas for Saruman! I fear nothing more can be made of him. He has withered altogether. All the same, I am not sure that Treebeard is right: I fancy he could do some mischief still in a small mean way.'
Well, it is Su Tseng-chang in New Taipei City. The Taipei Times editorialized....
However, while he has a stellar resume, Su has had his fair share of time on the political stage. Not to mention his comeback this time not only goes against his pledge in 2010 not to run for the New Taipei City mayoral post, but also adds further fuel to recent concerns that the DPP is devoid of new presentable talent and is overshadowed by senior party members who are reluctant to step out of the limelight.


Nominating Su is simply playing it safe, and goes against the youthful and reformative image that the DPP has been trying to build over the years.
Yes, it is playing it safe and smart. Lotta people out there don't get it: New Taipei City has plenty of blue voters, they will be energized, and they have a typical Blue candidate to vote for. The DPP needs a candidate who can at least make a game of it. No other DPP candidate is likely to do as well as Su. There are plenty of other places to develop new faces.

A pro-Green poll has Su edging Hou You-yi in New Taipei City. It's going to be a long election and Su is going to take a beating. At this point I don't think he will win. Recall that the DPP tried to recruit Hou in the early 2000s, a sad commentary on the party.

Don't miss Donovan Smith's excellent piece at the News Lens on the NT City and Taichung races.

The Taipei Times reported on the referendum drive by former presidents Lee and Chen....
Yesterday’s launch was attended by former premiers Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), former presidential advisers Peng Ming-min (彭明敏) and Wu Li-pei (吳澧培), late democracy activist Deng Nan-jung’s (鄭南榕) daughter, Deng Chu-mei (鄭竹梅), as well as 3,000 supporters of the new alliance.

Members of opposition parties — including New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Lau Yi-te (劉一德) and Social Democratic Party member Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) — were also in attendance.

The Formosa Alliance was founded by Formosa TV (FTV) chairman Kuo Pei-hung (郭倍宏), former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Lee and other politicians who support Taiwanese independence.

At the event, the alliance reiterated its goal to push for an independence referendum on April 6 next year and elected Kuo as its convener.
The referendum law is set up so that no referendum on sovereignty can take place, so as far as achieving this goal, this movement is pointless. Nor can the wording of the referendum be arranged to get around the law -- the Control Yuan reviews the wording, and it will prevent that.

What is clear is just how stupid this is. Every time the words "referendum" and "Taiwan" occur in the same sentence inside the Beltway eyes bug out. Judging from the several conversations on this I've had already getting people in DC to understand that nothing will happen and that this is just a protest against that law... is going to be an uphill struggle. A bunch of politicians led by two former presidents looks like something serious in Washington. Just another headache for Tsai to manage with Washington. Fortunately she is very good at ignoring this kind of thing and at reassuring Washington.

Doing this in the run-up to an election is also incredibly stupid. The DPP does not need an attack from independence purists at the moment -- do these people think that they will get an independent Taiwan by making things more difficult for the DPP? It also shows how lucky Tsai Ing-wen was, as I noted many times, that the KMT locked up Chen Shui-bian and silenced him during the 2016 election. Now that he is out and about he is stirring up senseless trouble for the pan-Greens with no commensurate gain in votes or resources.

Anyone want to start a Kickstarter to build a home for former Chen Administration officials on Taiping Island?

This episode also highlights the problem of the post-colonial transition in Taiwan that Tsai must manage. Few presidents have ever been so sorely taxed -- not only must she manage the tasks that any president must manage, but she has to deal with the China problem, and manage the post-colonial transition in from KMT rule in Taiwan to a real Taiwan-centered democracy. For people in Lee and Chen's generations, independence meant independence from the KMT, and that colonial period will never be ended until Taiwan is an independent state, and they want to see that transition completed before they die.

Not gonna happen.

They will die, and I will die, and very likely this island will not yet be independent. That is how history works. We are playing this game for our children and grandchildren. “It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till..."
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Anonymous said...

First they need a referendum to change the referendum law. Can they do that?

TaiwanJunkie said...

Sounding more and more moderate.

I as a former moderate feel like I’m going more toward hard core independence.

Just my observation.