The previous post (Part 1) established the conditions leading to Ko’s victory, including the various key actors that played important roles in it. In the time since then, Ko has managed to alienate or antagonize most of these allies, resulting in today’s political situation. In this post (Part 2), we shall examine the events that led to this development.
“Two sides of the strait are of one family.”
The group most obviously alienated by Ko are the true believers of Taiwan independence. A cursory glance of the media & you will notice the constant mention of his infamous “two sides of one family” quote.
This statement came about during the Taipei-Shanghai forum. Ko, being a self-proclaimed “ink green” (墨綠), was naturally met with hostility from China the moment he entered the mayoralty. This extended to the Taipei-Shanghai City Forum (臺北上海城市論壇), an initiative first launched by former Mayor Hau Lung-pin in 2010. Doubt was raised from the Chinese side on the prospect of the 2015 forum considering the pro-Taiwan positions & rejection of the 1992 Consensus by the new mayor & presidency. Ko was nonetheless eager to hold the forum, & the “two side of one family” quote was the likely compromise to achieve the meeting.
It has been almost four years since the spectacular victory on November 29th 2014 that propelled Ko Wen-je to the Taipei mayoralty; a victory that was celebrated by Taiwan’s pan-greens, progressives, & youths among others. Four years in, a lot has changed. In today’s brave new world, Ko’s path to re-election is not only impeded by the KMT, but also by friend-turn-foe the DPP. Furthermore, Ko can no longer count on other former allies that made up his electoral machine in 2014. At the same time, Ko is now surrounded by new partners, some familiar & surprising.
The question that we need to ask is: what has changed? Exactly what has happened between his election & today, which have resulted in a vastly different political landscape in Taipei? In this series, I will attempt to answer this question, first by exploring what led to his election back in 2014. I will then argue that between his election & today, Ko has alienated three distinct core groups that formed the bedrock of his electoral machine in 2014: namely, the deep-green true believers of Taiwanese independence, the DPP apparatchiks, & lastly, progressive activists. I will also present the case that even though Ko has drifted apart from these three groups of former allies, Ko has also found new friends, & have managed to retain a significant amount of his former support. Lastly, I will speculate on the possibility that rather than blundering into today’s state of affairs, today’s situation is perhaps at least partially pre-mediated.
This post is the first part of a two, or possibly three, part series.
It has been almost 3 years since DPP won both Taiwan’s legislature and presidency, the first time that it had control of both branches of government. Notably however, we had seen a bare minimum amount of effort put toward Taiwan independence; this prompts talk show host Dennis Peng (彭文正) to wonder why the DPP no longer stand with the Taiwan’s independence movement, and to even wonder whether if one day the NPP or SDP are to be elected, will they end up like the DPP as well? It is a good question to ask ourselves about President Tsai’s reluctance. Of course, this is not necessarily about immediately proceed toward achieving independence, changing the name from ROC (Republic of China) to the Taiwan or something similar; obviously, that is something we all wanted to see but there are many other actions that can be taken that follows the principle of Taiwan’s independence movement that is not likely to risk war with China: such as changing the name of China Airline, or supporting the effort to use Team Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic. So, what is forcing the DPP to stick with the current status quo on the identity issue? Here is what I think is the biggest reason: DPP is a market-based liberal party first and foremost. You might ask, what does that have to do with the Taiwanese independence? It certainly explains DPP’s labor policy, but independence? In my view, I think there are many connections between being market-based and why the DPP is espousing a policy of status quo.
Hi, we have been caring about Taiwanese Politic for quite a while, and sometimes we wanted to speak out our mind, but we never do it. Hopefully, we will have more time to express our opinions to Taiwan whether as Entertainment, Politic, Culture, or Independence topic. Feel free to talk to us any time.