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May 26, 2009

State of the party

I've been reading The First Chinese Democracy: Political Life in the Republic of China on Taiwan. This book presents a most sympathetic view of the KMT during the drive to democracy, which is good for me to read even though it almost made my head explode for the first 50 pages. One of the points that was impressed on me reading this book is the truly decrepit state of the modern DDP.

How can we describe the current state of the party? I would opt for the following: lacking a message (the variety of voices has resulted in a complete lack of a unified message or platform); lacking a messenger (Tsai does well as party chair but cannot inspire the crowd or the remaining party leadership to follow her, and I don't see any serious candidates to replace her); facing a generational crisis (the Kaohsiung Incident guys are going nowhere, but they're completely out of touch with the electorate and need to hand over power to the Wild Lily generation); suffering from the fact that previous DPP supporters have either become radicalized by Ma's first year or just become apathetic (thanks to either the Chen Shui-bian case or the DPP's shrill whining this last year); completely incapable of seriously competing in local elections (the party forgot one of its early strategies of yi difang baowei zhongyang); unable to deal with the internal crisis brought about by Chen's prosecution; and incapable of presenting a coherent alternative to KMT rule.

At this rate, I would not be surprised if the DPP becomes as relevant as a 3rd party. We're almost there. I see no indication that the party can address any of the above problems.

Chen Shui-bian managed to make Taiwanese Independence as status quo a mainstream view while in office. The DPP's continued marginalization will only reverse that trend. Time is short. It's time for the DPP to get their shit together.

If only.

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