The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is in disarray. No other word can describe an organization that allowed Vice President Annette Lu (
But Lu's pilgrimage was innocuous compared with the release of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's (
The use of this tactic by Chen and other senior DPP figures points to the desperation of people who have run out of ideas and given up trying to inspire Taiwanese to build a better country.
The DPP has also failed to learn the lesson of the previous legislative contest: Local elections, though not without cross-strait significance, are fought and won on domestic issues and local connections. Instead, voters have been treated to the same tired spectacle of senior DPP politicians parachuting into local constituencies and warning of a cross-strait apocalypse if the pan-blue camp wins. Such tactics will be rewarded with a lower voter turnout.
The sobering reality is that the DPP holds less than 10 percent of all township-level administrations and less than 20 percent of city and county council seats. In these contests, the DPP was always going to "lose" the election in the face of an enduring Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presence and local clan and other non-aligned interests; what was important for the DPP was to make inroads, yet there has been little apparent enthusiasm for taking up this essential task.
The KMT has a chance of gaining county-level governments in Taipei and Ilan counties and Chiayi City. The DPP's grim challenge is to retain these seats, though Miaoli County offers a freak opportunity. The DPP's biggest concern should be failing to place its young guns into the next level of administrative influence and losing a new generation of capable national leaders. A balance of losses in Taipei County, Taichung City, Nantou County and Pingtung County would be disastrous for morale and trigger party bloodletting.
The KMT and Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
The People First Party could suffer losses in council seats, echoing its steep decline in the legislative elections. The Taiwan Solidarity Union may stand to gain council seats over disaffection with the DPP, but this will be little other than symbolic.
The result of this sad state of affairs will be the KMT claiming a new mandate for its agenda of legislative obstruction all the way up to the next presidential election. Such is Taiwanese democracy: The price of punishing the slothful is empowering the vandal.
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