Tuesday, August 14, 2018

DPP's Taipei Campaign is making me cry

Bird of prey

Solidarity is back with a great post on the DPP's hideously silly campaign in Taipei...
On a television program a couple days ago, Yao’s campaign spokesman Hung Li-chi (洪立齊) called for DPP members whose loyalty to Yao over independent incumbent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is unclear–including popular DPP city councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜)–to either leave the party or be expelled from it. Yao has given the impression this statement was unplanned but has stood by it nevertheless, saying his spokesman represents the campaign. Meanwhile, the DPP has withdrawn its endorsement of a neighborhood warden who has endorsed Ko, leading the warden to tearfully ask if it is wrong to support someone who gets things done.
After hearing Hung’s remarks, Kao said she was confident Yao would “be a hero and save the beauty”; when Yao instead affirmed Hung, Kao wrote that she would reflect on how to support Yao, but also challenged him to resign from the legislature for the sake of his campaign. Apple Daily (which has a good relationship with Kao) launched a Facebook Poll asking, should Kao Chia-yu leave the DPP, or should Pasuya Yao resign from the legislature? As of 7 pm Taiwan time on August 9, the readership overwhelmingly stood with Kao:
Kao should leave the party: 8%
Yao should resign: 92%
Yao was never meant to win, and as Solidarity notes, complains the party isn't supporting him. That's as it should be. Yao was run because DPP city councilors who feared for their seats wanted a DPP candidate to get out the vote. But it was obvious as many of us noted that a strong DPP candidate would split the non-KMT vote and likely put the KMT's Ting Shou-chung into the mayor's seat.

So instead of telling the DPP councilors to shut up and support Ko, and get support in return, the DPP decided to give them a suicide candidate who represented a middle finger to them and the voters. The only two who presented themselves were Yao and the equally hopeless Annette Lu. As a blogger Yao's self-absorbed, gaffe-ridden pronouncements are comedy gold, but as someone who loves Taiwan, they are incredibly destructive. The DPP is going to have to carry this cross for another three months and as it becomes clear even to Yao that he is not just going to lose but to be buried and the location of his grave forgotten, he is going to say even more destructive things.

Pasuya Yao is what happens to parties whose leadership won't discipline members to do the smart thing. Fortunately voters have short memories, and fortunately Ko is looking like he will win. Hopefully Yao will then be put in cold sleep and sent to colonize the Andromeda Galaxy.

Ko himself is hardly less gaffe-prone than Yao, but he is also far more practical a politician. His use of a loose form of the term "family" to describe the peoples of China and Taiwan is still causing him trouble. This week he denied that he had failed to inform the NSC of those key phrases in his speech, and once again averred his deep greenness...
“Being ‘deep green’ is my background, but the most beneficial thing for me as Taipei Mayor to do for Taiwan at present is to continue exchanges between the two cities,” Ko said. “So saying that the ‘two sides of the Strait are one family’ does not contradict my being ‘deep green.’”
The purists in the DPP who pouted when Ko used that language are why we can't have nice things. For all his alleged naivete Ko is very aware of what he has to be doing as mayor of the nation's capital and as mayor of city that is half-Blue. That is why he is getting re-elected, with the strong support of the young -- who are deep green but want alternatives to the corporate-owned, neoliberal, business-as-usual DPP. Ko was quoted in another article this week on his Shanghai Forum remarks...
“I worked at intensive care units and emergency rooms as a doctor, and doctors have a trait: We never get to choose our patients,” Ko said. “We cannot ask patients to come in only if they are affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] or Democratic Progressive Party.”

He has no difficulty speaking with politicians from the pan-blue or the pan-green camps, Ko said, adding that having “practical dialogues” is his specialty, because his experience as a surgeon has made him practical and willing to listen to different opinions.

“The statement that ‘the two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait are one family’ is still a fundamental element [of my cross-strait discourse] for the time being. It does not pertain to politics, but rather to cultural and economic exchanges, as well as exchanges between private actors and between cities,” he said.
Note how his language highlights a common "neither Blue nor Green" approach taken by independent politicians, and also emphasizes the practical reality of being mayor of the national capital. Ko knows well he has strong support and can afford to point out that his opponents are being purist idiots.

Don't look for him to be presidential in 2020. He's 59 this month and will be in his mid-sixties when the 2024 election run-up begins. The 2024 election, with William Lai (currently premier), Chen Wen-tsan (the 51 year old highly popular and competent mayor of Taoyuan) and whoever else vaults to prominence, is going to be an interesting election.
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Anonymous said...

can you imagine DPP getting just 5-8% vote in the Taipei election ? I don't think so. Yao will get more votes than what the opinion polls tell us. Yao would probably get 15-20% vote in the end. because of that, it will be a close fight between Ko and Ting.

Anonymous said...

Ko is a joke. He's a populist that does nothing consistently and has let Taipei stagnate overall even if he's pleasing the local district chiefs. He's basically an Internet star and owns his awknardness. I'd give him props if he were a nerdy awkward teen trying to figure things out, but he needs to actually accomplish really hard things, not just be a crowd-pleasing clown, for Taiwan's most economically important city.

Ko is also a bad manager. Every friend of his that supported him in 2014 and worked for him has left. His vice mayors can't stand him, his department heads can't stand him... he trashes anyone vindictively that left him. He used the media to attack Wu Yi-ning to distract from his own problems. She's head of the farming association and a long-time farming activist that has legit grassroots chops and worked for many years to better the plight of farmers in Taiwan.

While many cities around the world are undergoing transportation revolutions, Taipei has... the MRT... which is great but it is being built out according to plan and has been around for a long time.

Housing in Taipei is still extremely expensive even though there are many job opportunities for young people. How many kids endure 60 minute commutes so they can continue living with their parents? This is not normal relative to Tokyo / New York / London / SF where you can rent reasonable apartments quite easily and even the "bubble" prices aren't even half as bad as they are in Taipei.

Taipei is still backwards and based around cars as the highest priority transport and walking around Taipei still feels gross anytime you cross an intersection.