Why DPP lost taiwan’s local elections

Taiwan’s recent local election results are a shock to the progressives. Like in the United States, a two-party system has led to the majority of voters swinging from one party to another as a form of punishment to the ruling party.

It is not that the Democratic Progressive Party had performed so badly. Under the DPP, unemployment has gone down to its lowest in 18 years, average wages have grown to be higher than that of 2000 for the first time, and Taiwan’s businesses are returning to Taiwan as investments in China dropped over the last two years, partly fueled by the trade wars spearheaded under the United States’ Trump administration.

However, all these have not been felt by the Taiwanese. Unemployment might have dropped, but many Taiwanese youths have also left for overseas jobs, and wages continue to be low, as compared to the other Asian Tigers. For a Taiwanese population who remembers a time when they were on par with South Korea, it is not acceptable that they have fallen behind.

Taiwan’s president 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen won on the back of progressives, by appealing to marriage equality and the youths, but over the last two years, while she has made promises to the youths to increase wages, in reality even as wages have grown for government workers, private sector workers still see stagnant wages, and Tsai has not shown the same strong support she did before the 2016 presidential election for same-sex marriage.

She is therefore seen as neglecting the progressives who had helped her into power, as well as independence supporters who have traditionally made up DPP’s support base. Instead, she decided to embrace the conservative Christian faction in her party, which in turn has led the progressives to turn away from her.

But Tsai is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Tsai recognises that she needs to increase wages to ensure the youths are given hope, but on the other, she feels she has to attract Taiwan’s companies back to Taiwan to ensure the youths have jobs, or maybe the DPP was never that progressive. But in doing so, she has to ensure that costs are low as well so that companies will return, and that means ensuring that wages continue to be low.

Perhaps Tsai’s strategy is to hope to invite companies back, so that in a few years, she could work with them to increase wages. Indeed, companies have begin embracing corporate social responsibility and the government has implemented new laws to require companies to reveal the average wages they pay to workers. But these measures are seen as piecemeal and even if the policies are well-intended, it would take many years for these policies to take effect, for wages to even grow.

But the youths are impatient. To them, wages are an easy thing to increase. If South Korea could increase minimum wage by 16% in one year, there is no reason why minimum wage can only increase by only 5% a year in Taiwan. To be fair, under Tsai, minimum wage has increased faster than it has ever had in the last two decades, but with Taiwan’s cost of living being higher than other countries with a similar level of minimum wages, Taiwan’s minimum wage is simply unjustifiable, especially when across the sea, China is able to offer higher wages.

On top of that, many Taiwanese do not recognise that Taiwan is still a young democracy undergoing democratic transition, and therefore it is natural that this transition will be messy. It does not help that the Kuomintang (KMT) which ruled Taiwan under a dictatorship for 40 years continues to try to sabotage the DPP’s rule, and continues with the politics of throwing chairs in the Legislative Yuan.

In order for democratic transition to evolve, it requires all political parties, as well as civil actors, to work together, to move Taiwan along. However, with KMT and some civil society groups being aligned or even funded by China, this has allowed China to also sabotage Taiwan’s democratic progression. As such, while Taiwan is undergoing an important episode in its democratic transition, this development is being compromised by China the KMT.

But Tsai has to take responsibility for not having taken Taiwan in a direction that is more progressive. After being in power, Tsai decided to continue with the pro-business policies like the KMT. Nothing wrong with this approach, Sweden has done the same in its socialist democratic system. However, the difference is that, Sweden also has a strong social welfare system and high wages.

An argument would be that instead of enticing Taiwan’s big companies to come back to Taiwan, Tsai should have simply grown the wages of Taiwan’s workers by a further margin, so that this investment in the workers would enable them to grow richer, increase the workers’ savings and allow them to create new businesses, so that Taiwan can rely on a new breed of businesses to grow Taiwan’s wages. As it is, by trying to attract Taiwan’s companies back from overseas, Tsai is only attracting those who have left for China because they could pay low wages.

But for Tsai to be willing to make such a socially progressive move would require, perhaps in the DPP’s perspective, a lot of gamble. There is no certainty it would work. At least, attracting companies back to Taiwan is a method that has been tried before. Moreover even if Tsai did try an alternative method, wages would still take time to grow, and might take even longer, and we are back to the same question, that the Taiwanese do not have the patience to wait. As such, what is Tsai to do?

A problem with the DPP, as has been the problem that has plagued Taiwan’s companies are that they do not know how to market themselves. Some of Tsai’s policies might not be popular with workers, but on the other hand, Tsai has been trying to improve Taiwan’s economic environment, and this has indeed grown better.

But DPP does not talk about their achievements enough. And when they do not, there is not enough confidence in their rule, and as such they aren’t able to profit from their efforts, which is a similar problem facing Taiwan’s businesses. Yes, Tsai should not learn from Singapore’s authoritarianism, but if there’s one thing Tsai can learn from Singapore, it is that Singapore markets itself so well, when you visit Singapore, it is only then that you realise how much plastic surgery Singapore has done.

In the end, Taiwan’s battle was fought on a very simple concern – wages. Whereas the concern in some countries has been that wages have been depressed and inequality has widened because of immigration, Taiwan has not faced the same effects of immigration due to a relatively low immigrant population.

But on the other hand, Taiwan’s youths have voted for DPP precisely because they believed that Tsai could change all that. To them, Tsai was their Bernie Sanders. But Tsai ended up not being the progressive they expected, and they are now turning to Trump, in the hope that things could change. This is why in Kaohsiung, people have turned to Han Guo-yu for mayor, who is akin to Trump.

But Taiwan has tried KMT for decades, and if KMT did not work, I do not know what made them believe KMT would this time. Moreover, it was KMT which sold Taiwan’s interests to China during their rein from 2008 to 2016, and it was KMT which caused Taiwan’s wages to become depressed to NT$22,000.

The irony is that Taiwan has decided to embrace a KMT which has created the problems that DPP is trying to undo. Underneath it all, DPP simply did not know how to let people know that they have been trying to do their job, and that they have been trying to undo what the KMT had entrenched for years, which is going to take a long time.

But how do you tell this to a population who feels that Taiwan has run out of time, and who do not have the patience to wait? Moreover, Taiwan’s political landscape is such that if you feel that one party is not working, you punish it and vote for another. As long as Taiwan is stuck in a two-party system, it will not be able to transcend this trap and DPP would not be able to work towards longer-term progressive goals.

As such, it is in Tsai’s interests to strengthen the other political parties, especially the Third Force progressive parties. Tsai has to find allies among parties like the 時代力量 New Power Party and the Social Democratic Party, if it wants to curb the conservative impulses of her own party, and to ensure that when youths decide to turn away, they would not turn to a KMT which would cause Taiwan to regress in its democracy and into the hands of China, but towards Third Power progressive parties which would help to consolidate Taiwan’s democratic development.

Tsai has worked hard over the last two years, where her Southbound policy has worked to increase Taiwan’s tourist arrivals to record numbers, and to diversify Taiwan’s partners with democratic allies among other like-minded countries. But all this hard work will unravel if DPP continues to lose the support and confidence of the populace.

Understandably, as a president, Tsai might feel the need to become more conservative when she becomes the leader of a country and not just of a party. But perhaps she had made a costly gamble. KMT supporters were never going to turn green all of sudden, so that is always going to be a lost cause. But within the DPP, Tsai staked her bet with the conservative faction of her party, which in all likelihood would have never switched camps to the KMT, since the older conservative voters are also independence supporters, which KMT fervently rejects.

As such, Tsai’s mistake was not embracing the youths and progressives which she had worked so hard to win over, who are now willing to go back into the KMT’s arms. The youths do not have strong pro-China or strong anti-China sentiments. They want jobs and high wages, and if they cannot see this in front of their eyes, then independence or not, that’s not the real issue.

Tsai has less than 2 years left on her term as president. She hopes to carry through with her reforms, but if she is to hope to secure a second term as president, she would need to show that she is willing to be a strong progressive, at least in terms of ensuring the wages of workers see real improvements. Tsai had her chance to do it when DPP controlled both levels of government.

With KMT gaining a stronger foothold now in local governance, Tsai might face a challenge. But it is not impossible. Tsai needs to seek allies with other Third Force socially progressive parties, as well as to strengthen the laws to support the work that labour unions do, so that they can do the dirty work of negotiating for higher wages for her. It is no longer the time for Tsai to consolidate DPP’s power, but for Tsai to diversify political power, so that while her hands are tied with how much she can push businesses, others will push for her where she cannot.

And perhaps Tsai would need to make the right bet. Tsai won because she was seen as a progressive. She lost because she is no longer seen as one. Perhaps one thing the Taiwanese share with citizens in other countries are that they are willing to try an outsider. And if Tsai is not the outsider they need, then Han Guo-yu would be, as Kaohsiung voters have shown.

And if there are no outsiders to embrace, the Taiwanese have shown that they are willing to go back to the tried and tested. Nevermind that Taiwan’s problems today have been many created by the KMT. But if DPP cannot solve the KMT’s problems, the KMT might be able to do so, or so this seems to be what the Taiwanese are thinking.

If Tsai wants to secure a second term, then she jolly well has to let the Taiwanese know she is doing a better job than the KMT has ever had, and she has to be willing to show the Taiwanese that she is the progressive that they had voted for her to be.

 

Roy Ngerng

 

 

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12 Responses to “Why DPP lost taiwan’s local elections”

  • Panicky PAP:

    PAP has gone into Phase Extreme Panic when Mahathir in his 90 came
    in mighty strongly to destroy the ‘taken Malaysians for granted that regardless what they do’ attitude of UNMO that they will be the eternal ruling Party plus the alarming speed by which Mahathir unveiled what Najib couple has been doing much to the shock of Malaysian Politics Expert of the role of Najib better half(?). The effect of PAP in PEP were mixed unlike the dead n gone emperor much to the dismay of the non direct line of succession who will send clearer & direct signals to woo the daft Singaporeans. V3 & V4 G seemed to go logged headed with one another. Take for example, a Biw Munster threatened arrogantly that he has no problem to replace SIN Pmets with foreign trash which on extrapolation would include his comrades at arms after he has arrogantly despised 99% of daft Sinkiers patronising the unhygenic n not worthy the money they pay for the food compared with his $10 variety served in aircon comfort. Daft though they r they found that the Health n Environment munsyers stood dumped while berrachan 蠢sings about their inefficiency n neglect of maintaining hygenic n clean duties. Perhaps they r too busy planning how to increase fees n charges to score points. Another muster responded with extreme scorn on those who kpkb n ququkio abt heafty rise of medical cost that he lonly paid $8 for his heart surgery incl hospitalization n medicine which gained him the honourable nick of $8 man while another munster who heart attacked n hospitalised got his plp sub to tell Daft Sinkies off for extrapolating from $8 man to another $8 man that this munster paid what daft Sinkies pay ie tens of thousand of $ as what the kpkb ququjio is all abt. Two munsters two responses separated by tens of thousand but each suddenly plagued with dumbness on why the other muster was different. Now with Mahathir flapping his wing over air space after his love hate long standing punchbag was gone, v3/v4 papists were all over the stench about infringement of soverignty while the $8 man formerly Malaysian said it is not a matter of soverignty but management of airspace which is like transport system can be tendered to different management. So now we have an eye doc, now FA munster seemed grooming to be another musical chaired munster, against a general practioner, now $8 man cum musical chaired munster, over the interpretation of money centred mgement or soverignty.

    As the yeky yek self appointed bigtime Nobel Laureate fisherman boasted that who is ah Loong but the little boy waiting silently for him in hotel lobby every morning while he dressed n finished his breakfast, the V3 v4 munsters r battling snickly who is the real boss to have the final say.

    Signs of imminent kaput of Biws.

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  • Panicky PAP 2:

    Another effect of PAP in PEP is the mad rush of wild catching of crikets, a legacy pre E MUST activity. Now no little criket like Amos but seasoned big size crikets Willy n super educated n fighter cricket like Will n LSH.

    Mahathir has activated all alert sign to plps as he went around with his cleansing n detoxing projek. As he would have done if he remained in his medic world first cleanse, detox, anesthesia, then operates, he did it on his politic comeback. All plps now will think twice or more to stck around the decaying host or looking for another or to slowlyneutralise themselves. So Daft Sinkies will have more to see n hear as the wild net is on.

    Tommy diam diam so Prof Lim also wuay quay while his once power sil run like hell with his daug n grands. Dav hoping his comtplp would award him sufficiently to get his final pieces for his singhing village .

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  • they would have smelled throug:

    //but if there’s one thing Tsai can learn from Singapore, it is that Singapore markets itself so well, when you visit Singapore, it is only then that you realise how much plastic surgery Singapore has done.//

    haha. TW’s citizenry is more matured politically with such freer press and tv programmes and debates on their own national matters and issues. they would have smelled through (not see through) the plastic surgery miles away.

    //But Taiwan has tried KMT for decades, and if KMT did not work, I do not know what made them believe KMT would this time.//

    a matured society will keep on playing / switching the political parties once in a while (so that the parties are always on the toes and no such thing as one singular ownself-check-ownself party) unlike sinkie land. this round, KTT. next round, it will be back to DTT.

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  • 花非花:

    虽然向来对鄞玉林的政治信仰稍有保持,然而对他敢于反抗体制的勇敢精神还是相当钦佩的。不错,鄞玉林对于民主精神的执著是难能可贵的。然而,就在民主的精神和价值被台湾民进党扭曲成为神圣不可侵犯的神主牌的时候,民主竟然变种成狼身上披着的羊皮时,鄞玉林还能够睁大眼睛说瞎话,如此推崇蔡英文,蔑视台湾选民在这一次九合一大选唾弃民进党,给予蔡英文和民进党的教训,不能够说让人引为观止,其实是透露了自个儿对民主的认识和追求,也太过于皮毛了。

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  • Bapak:

    Taiwanese know how to make their government works hard for them. This is smart.

    Only stupid people let their government bully them and work hard for few of them. These people are the most hopeless in the www.

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  • PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20:

    Dear Readers,
    Please do not believe a word of Roy.

    Opposition supporter Roy is a banana who has limited understanding of traditional Chinese and dialect. He is stupid beyond redeem.

    Unlike high class PAP supporter like me who understand both traditional and simplified Chinese and dialect, Roy had misunderstood everything as he only read English news who are pro American and then Roy try to pretend himself to be very knowledgeable about Taiwan election.

    The truth is:
    DPP lost because they are:

    1. corrupted due to their minister and civil servants not being paid market rate.

    2. incompetent due to lower salary and as such only attract mediocre people to join DPP. (SM Goh is right that people whose salary are less than S$500K are mediocre)

    Below is some facts on how DPP lose their pants.

    a) 吳音寧連北農靠什麼賺錢,都一問三不知!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp_t2tS0EgE
    (incompetent DPP appointed manager 吳音寧 know nothing about agriculture but draws NT$250000 as 北農manger)

    a1) 獨!北農調查報告曝光 戳破吳音寧3大謊言
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTTijOOHIJQ
    (incompetent DPP appointed manager caught lying)

    b) 2016年韓國瑜時任北農總經理議會質詢全紀錄
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPx4syhQo0A
    (super competent PAP 韓國瑜時任北農總經理 stand up to fire)

    c)「1124滅東廠」大選催命符 段宜康打醒韓國瑜、吳音寧震垮農業縣!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elReeE6qhek
    (corrupted DPP official abuse authority)

    d) 通緝逮不到?陳菊愛將趙嘉寶判刑狂PO照
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRK7RrkhoVY
    (indicted corrupted DPP officials not jailed due to his connection with mayor 陳菊)

    e) 2900億沉重負擔 陳菊留下的高雄藍圖│中視新聞 20180410
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIv8r8lYO0M
    (incompetent 高雄前市長陳菊put高雄in deep debts)

    PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20

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  • Bapak:

    Apparently, you haven’t known or refused to accept there is such thing as LEEgally corrupted. Please stop blowing your trumpet being bilingual, there are many mountains higher than yours here.

    PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20:
    Dear Readers,
    Please do not believe a word of Roy.

    Opposition supporter Roy is a banana who has limited understanding of traditional Chinese and dialect. He is stupid beyond redeem.

    Unlike high class PAP supporter like me who understand both traditional and simplified Chinese and dialect, Roy had misunderstood everything as he only read English news who are pro American and then Roy try to pretend himself to be very knowledgeable about Taiwan election.

    The truth is:
    DPP lost because they are:

    1. corrupted due to their minister and civil servants not being paid market rate.

    2. incompetent due to lower salary and as such only attract mediocre people to join DPP. (SM Goh is right that people whose salary are less than S$500K are mediocre)

    Below is some facts on how DPP lose their pants.

    a) 吳音寧連北農靠什麼賺錢,都一問三不知!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp_t2tS0EgE
    (incompetent DPP appointed manager 吳音寧 know nothing about agriculture but draws NT$250000 as 北農manger)

    a1) 獨!北農調查報告曝光 戳破吳音寧3大謊言
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTTijOOHIJQ
    (incompetent DPP appointed manager caught lying)

    b) 2016年韓國瑜時任北農總經理議會質詢全紀錄
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPx4syhQo0A
    (super competent PAP 韓國瑜時任北農總經理 stand up to fire)

    c)「1124滅東廠」大選催命符 段宜康打醒韓國瑜、吳音寧震垮農業縣!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elReeE6qhek
    (corrupted DPP official abuse authority)

    d) 通緝逮不到?陳菊愛將趙嘉寶判刑狂PO照
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRK7RrkhoVY
    (indicted corrupted DPP officials not jailed due to his connection with mayor 陳菊)

    e) 2900億沉重負擔 陳菊留下的高雄藍圖│中視新聞 20180410
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIv8r8lYO0M
    (incompetent 高雄前市長陳菊put高雄in deep debts)

    PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20

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  • sue him:

    Roy, sue him for libelous remarks. Need funding?

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  • Bad Boy:

    Well Mr Roy certainly can write and should be encourage to. Agree or disagree of his views otherwise.

    But topics wise … Chose something better.

    Example , Recently many cases of food poisoning happenings ( victims near 500 even prominent hotel also kena ).

    Or riot happenings in france. It appears the cause is the fuel $ hike but there are several other underlying root causes.
    France unemployment rate is near 10%. People welfare went down instead of up. Rising living costs and increases mounting up. Plus they open their floodgates to too many 牧獅玲 refugees resulting in tension plus friction due to different culture , belief, religion and lifestyle.
    Sounds familiar right. Apparently some significant resemblance. Hopefully our authority monitor and study this event closely.

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  • PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20:

    Bapak:
    Apparently, you haven’t known or refused to accept there is such thing as LEEgally corrupted. Please stop blowing your trumpet being bilingual, there are many mountains higher than yours here.

    The World over has no such word as legally corrupted.

    This word is invented by loser Singaporean opposition supporter.

    The World over all are using the word market rate.

    example 1, what is the market rate for the position of a CEO?

    example 2, what is the market rate for a new BMW 3 series.

    So our great PAP leader and ministers, civil servants and mp are being paid market rate.

    They are not legally corrupted as claim by lazy and unmotivated loser Singaporeans.

    -PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN 2019/20
    -PC Ong: GE19 or 20, it will be a comfortable victory for PAP.
    -PAP Ministers are not paid enough..
    -Singaporeans must TIGHTEN belt, DOWNSIZE so that PAP ministers can UPSIZE their salaries and not suffer a drop in their living standard.
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting 9% GST increase so that minister will get paid > 500K and no longer mediocre
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting 30% water increase so that minister will get paid > 500K and no longer mediocre
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting importing of more FT so that their NUS/NTU graduate children can go DRIVE GRAB CAB.

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  • Bapak:

    Stupidity is the lover of ignorance. Intentionally ignore the fact is a crime.

    PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20: The World over has no such word as legally corrupted.

    This word is invented by loser Singaporean opposition supporter.

    The World over all are using the word market rate.

    example 1, what is the market rate for the position of a CEO?

    example 2, what is the market rate for a new BMW 3 series.

    So our great PAP leader and ministers, civil servants and mp are being paid market rate.

    They are not legally corrupted as claim by lazy and unmotivated loser Singaporeans.

    -PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN 2019/20
    -PC Ong: GE19 or 20, it will be a comfortable victory for PAP.
    -PAP Ministers are not paid enough..
    -Singaporeans must TIGHTEN belt, DOWNSIZE so that PAP ministers can UPSIZE their salaries and not suffer a drop in their living standard.
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting 9% GST increase so that minister will get paid > 500K and no longer mediocre
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting 30% water increase so that minister will get paid > 500K and no longer mediocre
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting importing of more FT so that their NUS/NTU graduate children can go DRIVE GRAB CAB.

    GD Star Rating
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  • PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20:

    Dear Readers,

    Ask yourselves this simple question.

    If we go by the lazy and unmotivated daft Singaporeans logic, drawing a market rate salary is equivalent to legally corrupted.

    Than by this logic, implementing a minimum wage for workers to keep up with market rate should also be called legally corrupted wage rate for workers right ?

    Stop your BS that minimum wage is to help lower salaried workers.It is not help, it is legally corrupt (bribe) them. Get it ?

    -PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN 2019/20
    -PC Ong: GE19 or 20, it will be a comfortable victory for PAP.
    -PAP Ministers are not paid enough..
    -Singaporeans must TIGHTEN belt, DOWNSIZE so that PAP ministers can UPSIZE their salaries and not suffer a drop in their living standard.
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting 9% GST increase so that minister will get paid > 500K and no longer mediocre
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting 30% water increase so that minister will get paid > 500K and no longer mediocre
    -Singaporeans vote PAP supporting importing of more FT so that their NUS/NTU graduate children can go DRIVE GRAB CAB.

    GD Star Rating
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