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Apr 9, 2008

A better campaign for the DPP

Obviously, running an eight week campaign -- six of which was spent on the green card issue -- didn't work out too well. Now that we've all had time to digest the results, and since hindsight is 20/20, I thought I'd raise a few ways the DPP might have actually won the election, or at least gotten closer:

+ Run on global integration rather than Chinese-centric investment. Talk about world tourism, not just Chinese tourism. Don't exclude China from this discussion, but talk about making Taiwan an even more formidable global economic powerhouse. The message is positive and inclusive, with broad appeal.

+ Remember how the DPP ran ads deploring the Chinese statement at the WHO, "Who cares about you [Taiwanese]?" Instead of crying like babies about it and saying how the UN ought to include Taiwan, the DPP should have said, "Those commies were being jerks, but they're right. Nobody cares about us. And we've got to make ourselves economically stronger if we want them to pay attention. Let's not knock on the UN door begging for entry; let's make them beg for us to apply. Let's not grovel for WHO representation; let's become such a leader in health that they need us." Again, a more positive message that shows vision and direction. And it doesn't sound bitter and whiny.

+ Continue to point out that Taiwan is not provocative and doesn't want to be; but we can't sit idly by while the bully across the strait gets bigger and better clubs. Military modernization and spending should have had some place in the discussion.

+ Tried to more actively court the Hakka and Aboriginal community leaders based on DPP efforts over the last eight years to promote and preserve those cultures.

+ The DPP didn't realize that it's largely won the identity battle. Even those who don't believe in Taiwanese independence have to pay lip service to it, and unification is taboo. Twenty years ago, the situation was essentially reversed; even eight years ago, this was a real battle. But that battle is essentially over. All the young people consider themselves Taiwanese, though many don't have a strong emotional anti-China or anti-CKS-&-Co. reaction, because they didn't undergo the same brainwashing and social struggles. That being said, a Taiwan-centric campaign theme that didn't hammer on China would have been fine; A-bian's timing on name changes was terrible, and He probably should have changed them in 2005 or so.

Would we have won if the DPP followed the above advise? Probably not. You probably even think some of my advise is useless. But I thought we should discuss this question as a way of reflecting on not only what could have been done, but how the DPP can move forward from here.

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