Regarding Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) dilemma, it is not really as serious as was stated in Julian Kuo’s (郭正亮) opinion piece that: “Whether Ko can reconcile and satisfy the two groups will be a test of his own ‘wisdom of life and death.’” (“Ko Torn between DPP, supporters,” Dec. 28, page 8)
Ko’s decision will be easy. It is not a “life or death decision,” as Kuo suggested.
If Ko aligns with his online supporters and not the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), he will be beaten badly in the election.
If he goes with DPP, his odds of winning the election are good, but there is still no guarantee.
It is first important to understand the characteristics of voters in Taipei.
First, regarding the profiles of voters in Taipei, 40 percent are pan-blue, 30 percent are pan-green, 20 percent are independents and swing voters and 10 percent tend not to vote.
Second, to address voter habits, Taipei is known as “Chinatown,” populated with Chinese people, central government employees and people working for companies with strong ties to the government. The perspective of these voters will not change.
The pan-blue group, which is the majority, will vote for its own party candidate.
The pan-green group includes the 20 percent who are deep-green and loyal to the green candidate.
The remaining 5 to 10 percent will stay home and not vote if there is not a DPP candidate they favor.
Pan-green voters do not vote tactically like pan-blue voters tend to do.
In the independent camp, voters will support the candidate they like regardless of party affiliation.
Third, addressing voter rationale, 39 percent of all voters — most of them independents — support Ko Wen-je.
This is not because they adore him, it is because they are angry with the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidates while they are unhappy with DPP performance.
Fourth, independent voters in Taipei are unpredictable. They act and behave based on context and isolated issues. Online supporters are mostly young people, who are the least enthusiastic voting block.
Ko’s popularity will change. Ko is an accidental political newcomer with an attractive image: fresh, intelligent, friendly and lacking the arrogant attitude of the old government officials.
Ko will eventually be forced to reveal his position to the public on issues connected to Taipei’s future.
Ko will have to publish a white paper explaining his position in detail.
After doing this, there could be a change in the numbers of his supporters.
What Ko needs to do is choose to align with the DPP and communicate with netizens to convince them that the enemy they are facing is powerful and formidable. Let us compromise.
An ode to Santa Ma
So what has Santa Ma in his sack for you?
For the upper classes, tax breaks and industrial subsidies. Hohoho!
For the middle and lower classes, rising living expenses and unaffordable housing. Hohoho!
For the nation, a plan to become part of China, or at least a neighbor without a voice. Hohoho!
For the nation’s environment, weak laws and lax enforcement for the big companies, but high garbage collection rates for the small people. Hohoho!
For the nation’s beaches, more pollution! Hohoho!
For the nation’s mountains, more development. Hohoho!
For the nation’s farmers, more land expropriation for industrial development. Hohoho!
And for the nation’s children, an uncertain future, too much education, too little exercise and rising levels of obesity. Hohoho!