Why the DPP lost

Great analysis by Michael Turton over on The View From Taiwan. Please restrict this thread to critiquing his analysis.

Some interesting stories in there, worth a read, But not exactly unbiased:

[quote]The good guys may have been slaughtered at the County Chief level, but we’re inching up at the local level. The DPP needs to more aggressively pursue the gangster-businessmen combines that run the townships and towns across Taiwan, and make sure to get candidates for every seat. The results will not only be a cleaner Taiwan, but more DPP candidates elected at the local level. Of course, with the KMT in charge of so many counties now, pursuing “Black Gold” may become more difficult.[/quote]There are no “good guys” and “bad guys” in Taiwan politics, just “bad guys” and other “bad guys”. And more elected DPP will mean less corruption and a cleaner Taiwan ? :loco: BrianLKennedy says the DPP is like the KMT without the money. I think now they’ve got used to dipping their hands in the money pot too, they’re catching up and the DPP is like the KMT without the experience.

[quote]The DPP’s localization problems were neatly illustrated by the experience of our home township. As I noted earlier, volunteers for the campaign of the county chief, Chiu Tai-san, had told us that Chiu banners they had placed in our township tended to disappear. As if that were not lesson enough, on election day I dropped my wife off at the local school to vote. As she stepped out of the car, she was accosted by Taiwanese local faction members, who would not have looked out of place in Goodfellas. Members of the “red-lipped tribe”, the local circumlocution for betel nut chewers, they told her in a wheezy, betel-nut colored undertone to vote for number 8, the KMT candidate. As she went in, she encountered a local policemen bringing out tea to the local faction members who would not have looked out of place in Goodfellas. No wonder the DPP has problems.[/quote]Why didn’t the government and the CEC do anything about these things ? Maybe something to do with the police wearing KMT flags on their caps ?

Does this guy really understand the Hoklo vs. Hakka dynamic on Taiwan. It is because of the Hoklo that the Hakka barely speak Hakka prior to the arrival of the Japanese or KMT.

Not to mention WSR, Hoklo, and Hakka are all Han.

What is this nonsense, that’s my home town. There has always been pro-KMT individuals from here. It just took a long time to convince people that just voting along Hoklo line was not in the interest of Taiwan anymore.

The real reason why the pan-Green lost can be sum up by the MRT collapse in Kaohsiung, there is the gaping hole in the infrastructure.

That’s a perfect analysis. :notworthy:

That was a really enlightening and excellent read. Michael Turton really shows his aptitude as a scholar - he critically explores the situation. He connects numbers from previous elections to the recent election. His analysis and conclusion about the political situation in Taiwan shows a thorough understanding of the situation, and ample thought about what the implications are. Great!

It’s hard to take the statistical analysis seriously. Yes, of course he’s right that the DPP has “[grown] about 20%” in township elections over the past 5 years (from 9% to 11% of the total).

But let’s also do the math here:

  • if the DPP gains by 2% of the total every year, they’ll be at 40% (probably equal to KMT numbers) in 80 years.

  • if the DPP compounds their growth by 20% every year (a pretty aggressive assumption), it’ll take another 7 election cycles… or 28 years, before the DPP catches up to the KMT at that level.

The KMT’s still a dominant force in local government, that’s all the numbers show. But the DPP, a party that didn’t exist a couple decades ago, is going to gradually erode that (assuming Taiwan stabilizes into a two-party system). That’s pretty much to be expected, ain’t it?

But, let’s talk about 2005 and not the township elections fo 2085. Turton’s ignorance is really showing when he calls “Hakkas” local minorities. The Hakkas are distributed through a huge sphere of southeast Asia. The Hakkas played a huge role in the Chinese republican revolution.

Good luck attempting to draw a line between “Han” and “Hakka” when Sun Yat-sen and Deng Xiaoping, amongst many others, were Hakka! That part of the post just continues to reflect how easy it is for Western ex-pat observers to bring their own personal biases onto Taiwanese/Chinese politics.

The ethnic/minority divide has been a common fault line for Europe and the United States over the past century (and certainly gaining special relevance in the 21st century), but it is far less relevant in China. Even during the vast chaos of the early 20th century when warlords faced off against each other, the vast majority of China didn’t split along these “minority” lines. Sun Yat-sen wasn’t a president for the Cantonese; Chiang Kai-shek wasn’t a president for the Yangzi river valley (Jiangsu/Zhejiang); Mao Zedong wasn’t a leader for the Hunanese; Deng Xiaoping wasn’t a leader for the Sichuanese.

We had divisions based on religion, based on political ideology, based on economic class… but not along imaginary “minority” vs. “majority” fault lines. Not a single general flocked to CKS because he was a Christian from Zhejiang; not a single Communist flocked to Mao because he was from Hunan. Any attempt to understand Chinese history (or Chinese future) along these lines will only lead you off-track.

EDIT: Let me add one more note. The blogger in question also makes this comment:

This comment also makes me skeptical of his insights into Taiwanese demographics. Polls show higher support for the KMT with climbing educational levels. University graduates are far more likely to support Blue than Green, while those with lesser degrees are more likely to support Green than Blue. The same is also true with higher income levels.

None of this is intended to be causal proof that with more education, a given individual is more likely to be pan-Blue; all we have at hand is correlation. But at the very least, if he intends to argue a point that runs counter to the correlation, he can’t just get by with a prima facie presentation of the facts and a claim that this is indeed the case. Let’s see some evidence beyond the anecdotal “friend” or “neighbor”.

[quote=“cctang”]

Good luck attempting to draw a line between “Han” and “Hakka” when Sun Yat-sen and Deng Xiaoping, amongst many others, were Hakka! That part of the post just continues to reflect how easy it is for Western ex-pat observers to bring their own personal biases onto Taiwanese/Chinese politics.
… Any attempt to understand Chinese history (or Chinese future) along these lines will only lead you off-track.
.[/quote]

It is just as easy for Chinese people to bring their unreflective prejudices into their political analysis.

Taiwanese Hakka tend to see themselves as Hakka first, Taiwanese (in the broad sense) second, and Han third. These are layers of identity, but the core layers closer to the center (Hakka vs. Hoklo Taiwanese) are more intensely felt in Taiwanese politics. In this context it makes perfect sense to speak of Hakka as a minority in Taiwan.

And here’s an example of a Taiwanese speaking about ethnicity and minorities:

Seems to me how much you like Turton’s analysis depends on whether you’re a green supporter (you’ll like it alot) or a blue supporter (you’ll have reservations).

Personally, I also disagree with the idea that a more educated taiwan popluation will necessarily be more pro Green. Another angle is to look at the stock market. Every time investors thinks there will be better relationship between china and taiwan, taiwan stock market goes up. This is often accompanied by some sort of pan Blue triumph. To the extent that people with advanced degrees are more financially ambitious and believe that taiwan’s economic fortunes will be improved by better ties with mainland (which is the widely held perception among taiwan’s business people and financial community), than there is a clear argument suggesting better education can benefit the Blues.

I don’t deny the existence of different layers of identity. It’s not as if what you describe is somehow unique to Taiwan versus anywhere else in greater China. Hakkas have a similar multi-layered identity be they in San Jose, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Sichuan.

But let’s not confuse ‘layers’ with priority. Are you saying for example that a Hakka nationalist leader on Singapore could successfully rally the Hakkas on Taiwan to reject their Taiwanese identity, because they are ‘Hakka first’? I don’t find that very plausible; nor do I find it plausible that a Taiwanese nationalist leader would easily rally the Hakkas to reject their Han identity.

My point is that China doesn’t have a legacy of dividing along these identity boundaries. I know that isn’t necessarily the case in Taiwan, where the history of hoklo nationalism appears to have been exclusionary… but for the hakkas at least, I’m not aware of any historical events on the mainland or anywhere else in greater China that would “exclude” hakka from the rest of Han.

I don’t deny the existence of different layers of identity. It’s not as if what you describe is somehow unique to Taiwan versus anywhere else in greater China. Hakkas have a similar multi-layered identity be they in San Jose, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Sichuan.

But let’s not confuse ‘layers’ with priority. Are you saying for example that a Hakka nationalist leader on Singapore could successfully rally the Hakkas on Taiwan to reject their Taiwanese identity, because they are ‘Hakka first’? I don’t find that very plausible; nor do I find it plausible that a Taiwanese nationalist leader would easily rally the Hakkas to reject their Han identity.

My point is that China doesn’t have a legacy of dividing along these identity boundaries. I know that isn’t necessarily the case in Taiwan, where the history of hoklo nationalism appears to have been exclusionary… but for the hakkas at least, I’m not aware of any historical events on the mainland or anywhere else in greater China that would “exclude” hakka from the rest of Han.[/quote]

C’mon, you’re not aware of any events that exclude Hakka?! Not only Hakka are stereotyped and looked down upon, but also the Hainanese, the Teochiu… face it, Chinese look down on each other. And Michael Turton has gone nowhere wrong in his writing.

Knowledge is not inhereted - it’s learnt. That said, Michael Turton probably knows more about the history of the current political situation, and about politics in Taiwan more than most do.

[quote=“fanglangzhe”]Seems to me how much you like Turton’s analysis depends on whether you’re a green supporter (you’ll like it alot) or a blue supporter (you’ll have reservations).

Personally, I also disagree with the idea that a more educated taiwan popluation will necessarily be more pro Green. Another angle is to look at the stock market. Every time investors thinks there will be better relationship between China and taiwan, taiwan stock market goes up. This is often accompanied by some sort of pan Blue triumph. To the extent that people with advanced degrees are more financially ambitious and believe that Taiwan’s economic fortunes will be improved by better ties with mainland (which is the widely held perception among Taiwan’s business people and financial community), than there is a clear argument suggesting better education can benefit the Blues.[/quote]

One has to question the motives of profit-oriented individuals. Surely, some care about their country, but there are those that really only care about profit. Whatever situation is most profitable - they’re all for it! Of course, if the shit hits the fan, they can always take their money and flee to another country. Someone who is poor, does not have that choice.

Take Hong Kong, for example! There are many business people that brought their families to Canada for fear of the handover, and once they saw that not much changed, they headed back to HK with Canada passport in hand. In fact, many of them reside in Canada long enough each year to retain their passports. It’s a safe-haven.

The options and attitudes of those with money necessarily differ from those without.

[quote=“shawn_c”]C’mon, you’re not aware of any events that exclude Hakka?! Not only Hakka are stereotyped and looked down upon, but also the Hainanese, the Teochiu… face it, Chinese look down on each other. And Michael Turton has gone nowhere wrong in his writing.
[/quote]Yes, you’re certainly right about that, the Chinese are very good at looking down on each other.

~pauses for irony~

Many Chinese have stereotypes for everything and everyone. For that matter, the near-mythical heritage of the Hakkas also speaks to an ancient past of forced emigration. But it’s a huge leap to jump from the existence of stereotypes to “exclusionary” policies, and ultimately to political division.

As I said before… have you noticed yet that Chinese of all regions supported Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong without any distinction between “ethnic background”? Or, maybe I’m wrong… just remind me, who did “the Hainanese” support in the civil war, again?

So… does anyone else have any ideas why the DPP lost the county elections? I think Michael Turton’s review was excellent. Sorry if I’ve repeated myself.

Because ROC citizens like myself have convinced my fellow Taiwanese that the DPP is a evil cult.

Convince people like me and you have the a population of moderates on Taiwan supporting you.

[quote=“ac_dropout”]Because ROC citizens like myself have convinced my fellow Taiwanese that the DPP is a evil cult.

Convince people like me and you have the a population of moderates on Taiwan supporting you.[/quote]

I thought Scientology is an evil cult. As a moderate I only support the status quo because we are practically independent and we can still do business with our neighbors

[quote=“shawn_c”]
The options and attitudes of those with money necessarily differ from those without.[/quote]

Having more people become more wealthy is a good thing and should be a goal of any good government, don’t you think? I’m sure many moderates in taiwan look at the economic situation and believe the DPP is not good for their wallets/bank accounts. At least most of the local people i know believe preserving/improving their economic fortunes is just as important (if not more so) than democracy. Its not a case of “the business people” vs the rest of us, everyone (or almost everyone) here wants financial prosperity/security. Especially the well educated.

[quote=“shawn_c”]
One has to question the motives of profit-oriented individuals. [/quote]
Who in taiwan (or anywhere) isn’t at least partially motivated by profit? Stock market investors aren’t just the fat cat business people, they’re the mom & pop shop owners as well. Thats why politicians who try to play the class warfare card often have it backfire on them.

[quote=“shawn_c”]
Of course, if the shit hits the fan, they can always take their money and flee to another country. [/quote]
Same to the many foreign citizens who post on this forum. You (we) will have an easier time leaving than many of the locals. Maybe that’s why some people can afford to be more idealistic than others.

[quote=“shawn_c”]
Take Hong Kong, for example! There are many business people that brought their families to Canada for fear of the handover, and once they saw that not much changed, they headed back to HK with Canada passport in hand. [/quote]
So you think one country two systems can work after all?

fanglangzhe, you’re right that everyone of course wants economic prosperity - that’s a given. But I’m not just talking about people who drive BMWs vs. people who take the bus. I’m talking Tycoons here. It’s basically the same situation in Hong Kong, where many parties are pushing for further democratic reform, but many business tycoons are resisting it, because they’re afraid it’ll cause a welfare state (among other fears), and that would negatively impact their business.

I’m not saying “one country - two systems” would work for Taiwan. The reason it’s worked in Hong Kong is because Hong Kong was NEVER a democracy! There were some too little, too late reforms after 1992 when Chris Patten served as the last British governor of Hong Kong, but the CCP reversed those changes right after the handover. Right now, a reform package is being deliberated in Hong Kong, which increases the Legislative Council to 70 members, up from 60, but only half those members are directly elected. About 10 of those are elected by “constituencies”, meaning interest-groups, such as business, etc. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive is “appointed” by an 800-member electoral committee, and the new bill wants to double that number. The problem is that although the electoral committee is comprised of Hong Kong citizens only, these people are nominated by the NPC!

So… Hong Kong is basically the same as it always was… but Taiwan enjoys vastly more freedom than HK ever did (even under the British).

Well the magic number for HK is 2017. The CCP leaked that 2017 might be the year HK gets democracy.

However, it is also noted many critics find democracy to be a hinderance to development. India often cites it democracy as the major reason why it is not as developed as China at this time.

People who observe Taiwan version of democracy often see it as being to chaotic where the concept of “freedom” is being taken to mean near anarchy at times.

In my opinion if Taiwan doesn’t learn to manage it own form of modern government as opposed to what is being developed on Macau and HK under the 1C2S approach, many moderate ROC citizens will wonder if Beijing cannot do a better job than Taipei of running a small island.

The woman owner of a shop I was in proclaimed on the night of the elections how pleased she was at the result (“真爽 zhen1 shuang3”). She said the thing that swung some voters she knew was Chen Shuibian’s remark that Taizhong Mayor Jason Hu might “snuff it” or “kick the bucket”. A-Bian said Jason Hu’s health was not too good and he might 「ㄘㄨㄚ」起來 cua kilai any time. (In Mandarin that would be 掛掉 gua diao or 死翹翹 siqiaoqiao). His remark was seen by many as callous and below the belt, and it put some people off voting for the DPP.