Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he might have the weakest election campaign team, as he does not have the support of a political party, but added that his team still has 10 days before the nine-in-one elections to bring out the best result.
Ko, an independent seeking re-election, took leave from his post as Taipei mayor on Thursday last week to focus on his re-election campaign in the run-up to the Nov. 24 vote.
In response to media queries about his thoughts after canvassing support over the past few days, Ko said: “We are doing our best,” adding that he has visited several traditional markets, night markets and given speeches at companies from 7am to 10pm nearly every day.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
“Frankly speaking, it is very difficult for independent candidates to run in an election, because there are still some basic techniques required to run a campaign,” he said, adding that having the support of a political party could increase a candidate’s votes by at least 5 percent.
“Our election campaign team could be called the weakest campaign team ever or might not even qualify as a campaign team, because they are mostly young people recruited through an audition and we do not have specialists to help with promotional broadcasts,” he said.
Ko said he learned about “plate theory” from a survey analyst who used “plates” as a metaphor for supporters of different camps.
He has been thinking about why the plates have significantly shifted since 2014, Ko said, adding that he thinks it was because Taiwanese often vote for a political party not because they like it, but because they hate the rival party.
“However, they often regret after voting, because other than their stances on unification or independence and a few ideologies, the two major parties are very similar,” he said, referring to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
“Taiwan’s political scene has been overshadowed by the debate over unification or independence for about two decades, but I think it is a non-issue,” Ko said.
“It is impossible for the US to allow Taiwan to unify with China; it will try to avoid it, but the US will also not allow Taiwan to declare independence and infuriate China, so the debate is actually a pseudo-issue about fake unification and fake independence,” he said.
However, he added that although it is a pseudo-issue, it has real effects on the nation’s politics, such as the controversy over his campaign director Hsiao Yeh (小野) appearing in a video promoting DPP Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), which Ko said triggered nerves in the pan-blue and pan-green camps, and shifted the “plates.”
When asked if he regrets having the “weakest campaign team,” Ko said he does not, because he wants to give young people an opportunity to be innovative.
He was nervous about letting a team of young people mostly under 35 organize the opening ceremony of last year’s Taipei Summer Universiade, “but they did an outstanding job,” Ko said.
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