- Wait for Tsai and the DPP to run into hard times.
- Stop supporting unification once and for all.
- Emphasize support for capital punishment (one of the few issues where the KMT is more popular than the DPP)
- Rename itself the Taiwan Nationalist Party.
- Bolster its traditional support base of military, police, business folks, etc.
- Stop talking about the ‘1992 Consensus.’
- Stop supporting trade pacts with China.
KMT can save itself by supporting democracy in the real China and dropping its anti-Japan agenda.
It will be hard.
First of all, if the DPP and friends get a majority in the legislature, they will pass a host of sunshine laws, meaning that things like KMT’s ill-gotten gains and all that gets to light and gets prosecuted. Trust me, once the prosecutors here know that they are stuck with the DPP for 4-8 years, they will start to do some work in earnest.
Secondly, their traditional networks helping them scruing the vote in especially rural areas is under a concernted attach by the DPP - and the importance of that network is fading anyway.
Finally, their top brass is very much out of touch on most issues the Taiwanese voters care about. They need to get back in touch, and that will require a major changing of the guard.
I think that what we know as the blue camp will re-align itself over the next 4-8 years and then maybe have another stab at governing. It will be very different, and I would think that only a minority of power brokers at present will still be in positions of power once the blue camp has re-organized itself. I would even doubt that the KMT exists in its present form by then.
They’re getting pretty fucking desperate.
Get shot in the arm and not die during a rally
Well the kmt could start spewing off anti foreigner propoganda. All they have to do is remind society in their rallies all the stories where foreigners did something bad. You know, everytime a foreigner does something in public that is wrong. Even if it’s something many taiwanese do all the time. It will make national headline news all over Taiwan.
Eric Chu could’ve won more votes if he promised that any foreigner who ends up in the news (such as apple daily) for doing something wrong will be immediately deported and forbidden to return. And that one incident where a canadian guy was being aggressive towards a taxi driver and other locals attacked the “white guy”. Eric Chu could have praised the locals who jumped in to give blind support to whoever the taxi driver was.
If Chu just played the anti foreigner card, at the very least he may have gotten more votes. Besides that, playing the anti foreigner card may have prevented the DPP from getting a majority in legislature.
There are two major issues which face Taiwan today. One is the China threat. Two is the issue of foreigners in Taiwan who end up in the news for something many locals do all the time which is only a national tragety only if a foreigner does whatever it is he did. The Taiwanese may not like the idea of becoming a second Hong Kong. But a foreigner who gets into a fist fight with a local over something locals themselves commonly do, that’s even worse. Suddenly the idea of being part of China doesn’t sound so bad. At least not compared to the idea of a foreigner who is in a fist fight with a local (even if it’s not the foreigner’s fault).
Just how seriously do most Taiwanese take that news coverage?
hmmm… Considering the fact that most media will only report on what they think people wanna hear, I’d assume they take it very seriously. Even in any particular neighborhood where a foreigner lives. If he does anything such as fart, everyone in the neighborhood knows.
Or am I wrong?
I think the TzuYu incident really shows how the KMT is doomed unless they change to a more Taiwan-focused party.
Imagine you’re a Taiwanese student who leans towards the blue camp for economic reasons. You’re livid about this 16 year old girl being bullied by asshole Chinese internet trolls. On one side you have the angry greens loudly proclaiming how proud they are of being Taiwanese. On the other side you have blues offering a weak ass condemnation before they go back to sucking up to the Chinese so they can get another business deal. If you are proud of being Taiwanese, how could you stick around the KMT?
It’s no wonder they’re losing such a huge chunk of the youth these days.
Rowland - great signature!
You’re wrong. It’s just media fodder. There aren’t enough foreigners here for people to care that much about us, especially compared to all the other pressing issues here. Many people know normal generally-non-bad-thing-doing foreigners and/or understand the dynamics of news coverage here.
I don’t doubt that they attempt to pander. Whether they pander successfully is another question.
In the US, the mainstream media is torn between two impulses: ideology and profit. The ideology has to do with the sort of people who gravitate to that sort of industry. The profit motive is a sometimes grudging concession to the necessities of survival as an enterprise. A certain contempt for the viewer informs both these concerns.
I look at TV news in Taiwan and it seems a lot like TV news in the US except that they haven’t gotten over that Asian newsbabe fad yet. I’m inclined to assume they have the same two conflicting motives.
(The problem with US news is that their ideology interferes with their attempts at pandering. They’re too out of touch to know what most people want to hear. Only Fox seems to pander effectively on a consistent basis. The rest are not doing nearly as well in ratings.)
Folks you’re talking about the KMT here, but in Mandarin the name is 中國國民黨 (the Chinese Nationalist Party). And because of the name, the base will continue to shrink until it reaches equilibrium with the New Party 新黨, which is what CPP ought to get if it were to participate in elections in Taiwan.
Self-destruction mechanism of this party is built-in, as long as KMT remains in Taiwan and refuses to grow a pair to start an underground movement in Hongkong China or Nanjing China. Last time I checked the KMT or sun yat sen whatever you call it, was not founded on the principle of anti-Japan, anti-west agenda
As someone with friends on both sides of the Straits, I think that the KMT’s best move would be to face up to this issue by dividing itself into a pair:
- The existing KMT should devote itself to working for a democratic China on both sides of the Strait, using the historic party assets and symbolism, as a kind of cultural organization. It would be a souped-up version of the provincial associations (同乡会) that unite Chinese exiles in North America. They could hold rallies that would keep the pensioners in the military villages happy and perhaps maintain ROC monuments like the CKS Memorial Hall. It would be wonderful if it could fund democratic dissidents on the mainland, but I doubt the latter would take the money. Perhaps the KMT might find a niche providing retirement homes for battered and bruised Beijing lawyers or something.
- The party’s legislators would form a new party and stand for it in the next electoral cycle (2018 local elections?), which would inherit the KMT’s fiscal and social conservativism without its constitutional baggage. That would give Taiwan a chance of developing ‘normal’ politics rather than the present polarized identity politics. The party would have a non-policy on the constitutional question and defections from pro-independence conservatives would be welcomed (at least in theory; doubtless they wouldn’t get invited to certain people’s birthday parties). This might also be an opportunity to ‘unite the right’ by folding in the MKT, PFP (in return for James Soong becoming KMT chairman?), etc.*
This solution would allow the KMT to escape demographic doom in the coming generations, without breaking faith with the older generations of Mainlanders (at least a few of whom must be real heroes who fought with the Allies against the Japanese military régime) who have seen their country melt away. It might also ease the stress that the current identity crisis and cognitive dissonance must be causing the current KMT leadership.
- The name is not important, though it might be tricky. There’s no tradition of “conservative party” being a positive label in the Chinese-speaking world. There are conservative “Popular Parties” in several Latin countries, but I guess that 人民党 would sound too red.The boldest course would be to triangulate the DPP, build on Eric Chu’s “One Taiwan” campaign and stake a claim for Taiwan Party (台湾党). BTW apologies for simplified characters.
An observation from a Late-immigrant descent whose grow up in a public servant’s family. It’s all in Chinese though.
The author grew up surrounded by deep blue family members and friends, and many of his observations about deep blue people are echoed on some blue leaning Forumosans.
My summary of his observations:
- Lower voting rate is mainly due to the public felt the race result is already set. So both blue and green supporters chose to take the day off rather then vote. The fact that so many KMT supporters believe that all those who didn’t vote are blue leaning, shows the kind of fantasy bubble they live in.
I can attest to this, many of my green leaning friends (including the elder generation) didn’t see a need to vote, even after explaining how the legislator votes are more important than the presidential one.
- Like all colonialists, KMT relied on a Patron-Client system to get the locals to work for them while fighting amongst themselves. It works on awarding a few locals who would collaborate and turn on their own. The 228 incident purged all established Taiwanese political leaders and elites. Those remained either chose to stay silent or were already exiled. So it isn’t surprising that the remaining locals who collaborated with the KMT at first were mostly scum only interested in money.
By the time when the Patron-Client system was in full swing in the 70s and the 80s it actually worked pretty well. However, that system broke down in recent years because since Ma took over, the KMT has become increasingly closed to people from outside of their inner circle. Regardless of ethnicity, young people looking to join KMT find themselves kept away from key positions, and those related to the inner circle are privileged enough to raise to the top, without even going through the ranks.
This issues extends beyond just the party, and into how the KMT governs, resulting in not only the collapse of the Patron-Client system, but also disenfranchised blue-leaning youth.
- The KMT lacks the ability to see the big picture. In Taiwan’s political scape, the national identity issue is always the main issue, economy and international relations are mere addendum to the main issue. After driving out the core local factions within the KMT in 2000, most KMT leaders believe that as long as there’s money to be made the Taiwanese people would forget about the national identity issue.
However, to achieve replacing the government and act as the only channel to negotiate with China, the KMT gave up its own soul. For the past 50 year, the KMT could survive without the CCP, but now it’s survival rest on the whim of China. On the surface Ma’s presidency is KMT’s glorious return to power, but in reality it became China’s puppet. CCP leaders are well versed in “the struggle”, and knew very well how to handle their counterparts, who are mostly sheltered 2nd gen KMT leaders.
The result is China keeps weakening Taiwan economically, and becomes a client state of China. As effective as the strategy was, after 8 years the Taiwanese people see very little local benefit. Part of it is due to the fact that by driving away the idealists, and the local faction, KMT is left with fundamentalists and money grabbers. Take tourism treaty for example, Chinese tourists visits Chinese owned shops and buy Chinese made products, and locals shop owners see a decline of local and foreign tourists because of the impact that the Chinese tourists bring. So regardless of what the GDP may look like, most Taiwanese people don’t get a share of the benefit, and in return they see China diminishing Taiwan’s interest internationally, and even oppresses people for simply waiving the ROC flag. All this makes it difficult for the people to keep buying into the “truce on the diplomatic side for economic benefit” claim.
The KMT believes that because W. Bush was annoyed by CSB, means that the US gave the green light for Taiwan to move closer to China. However, W. Bush wasn’t mad at CSB for his pro Taiwan independence stance. It’s just that W. Bush wanted to put his focus on the middle east, and don’t want people stirring up trouble else where. In fact, CSB administration’s intelligence and military agencies still enjoyed great relations with their US counterpart. Now that the US wishes to return its focus to the Asia-Pacific region, Ma’s turning Taiwan into China’s client state policy flies in the face of the US’ new direction, which led to the US pretty much ignoring Ma’s administration.
- The author points out the majority of deep blue supporters still can’t shake their stereotyping of other ethnicities or supporters of other political parties. They themselves believe in that if Taiwan returns to China everything would work out wonderfully without much to backup that belief, but they turn around and accuse TI supporters for rather destroy Taiwan’s economy and risk war just to gain Taiwan independence, or that DPP supporters rather starve and still be CSB fans (肚子扁扁也要挺扁), or that DPP supporters are all natives who wear blue slippers around. The author claims such statements are all over his facebook, and that kind of classiest/ethnic-centric discrimination limits how KMT’s deep down view and outlook of Taiwan.
There are two ways out for the KMT. One is to do away with the Chinese centric focus, by at least remove China from its name. At first it will lose some fundamentalists within the party, but at least then it can compete with the DPP and other parties on real social and economic issues, and take a share of the 200K new voters annually. without doing so, as they have driven away most youths, the KMT will continue to be marginalized, which leads to route 2.
The KMT can introduce Chinese forces to eliminate the opposition. The author said unfortunately, many of his deep blue friends and families feel that’s the only viable and logical way out.
Unless that changes, the KMT cannot re-invent itself. The main opposition must come from somewhere else.
Excellent post, hansioux.
Yes, great post, very impressed.
I do not think that pandering to the xenofobia of the locals will grow legs here as it has in Europe. This is because immigration here is very different from immigration in Europe.
White people coming here - they all have jobs, most of them do not stay long. They steal the local wimmin and have western sausages(If we are to remain within prejudices held by some locals), however apart from that they do not cause much trouble, apart from for themselves.
The guest workers - if they get uppity, they get kicked out, that is already policy here. That will not change. Local workers might fear them, however the business owners would not take well to any pandering.
The others - imported wombs. Pop the kids, spread your legs when requested, clean the house, wipe your mother-in-laws incontinent bum and shut up. There has been a little pandering in the past, however it did not grow any legs until the slave trade became too apparent to ignore.
What is a little interested in here is that one of the buy-a-wife females being sold here actually get into parliament this time - that was the most pandering I saw in that election cycle. She is irrelevant, however if it was a sure-fire vote-loser, she would not be on the list.
China is certainly a major issue. As for how the local media treats foreigners living in Taiwan - wouldn’t even be in the top 10 or even top 100 issues facing Taiwan today.
Sit back and watch the DPP try to solve all of Taiwan’s problems.