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Jul 8, 2009

We ought to discuss now...

... when the year end elections produce a map stacked precipitously in favor of the KMT, to some degree or another, there will be a public outcry from some DPP supporters about how the democratic system in place is simply unfair.

So we have to ask: at this level of elections, to what extent is the KMT's disproportionate victory a function of institutional flaws, and to what extent is it a function of politico-cultural habits or norms?

If you ask me, it seems to be mostly the latter. The KMT's political machine is a perfect tool for low level politicians who hope to get elected, move an agenda and move up the ranks; that alone attracts a lot of local talent, and most capable candidates that don't want to go with the KMT just run as independents at the township/village level or county council level of elections. The DPP does quite poorly in those elections, as we saw in last week's analysis. So the DPP brand at that level is damaged, and the party simply doesn't attract most of the people who are likely to win.

Theoretically there's no institutional reason that the party branding should remain so favorable to one side, but the KMT just has the momentum in a way you would think would have fallen apart in most two party systems. Still, this seems to be a function of candidate and perhaps voter habits more than anything.

The once carefully crafted and nefarious relationship between the Farmers/Fishermen's Associations and the KMT can probably be counted as an institutional flaw, but I'd let someone who knows more about it talk about it in comments.

I can't think of institutional reasons the DPP shouldn't be able to win more at the county commissioner level, as they are running in big districts with (until now, anyway) static borders and in which the voter count is high enough that vote buying is not very effective. But the KMT is likely to wipe the floor with the DPP (again) this year at that level too.

Is the KMT dominance at even the county commissioner level simply a function of the popular local talent pool the KMT can cultivate at the lower levels? Are there budgetary or business reasons that could be considered institutional?

All contributions welcome in comments!

1 comment:

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