Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

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Threads dealing with Taiwan's history belong in the Culture & History thread. Please do not post articles - use links instead. Quoted sources should be limited to one paragraph in length, or less. If you see a post that you feel is against the rules, you can send a report to the moderators so we can look into it

Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby cfimages » 16 Jan 2012, 13:16

Muzha Man wrote:
Omniloquacious wrote:And I do not expect this election result to bring about any fundamental change in Taiwan-China relations.


I'm sorry but that is bordering on the disingenuous. Fundamental changes, enough to keep China happy for the time being, were made in the first Ma term as one-China became official policy. I know there's some bizarre way that this can be considered not a change in the status quo, and not a denigration of sovereignty, but I think it fair to say that such a position is outright nonsense. The Chinese believe they are moving closer to their goal of unification. I see no reason to think that such confidence is misplaced.

But as I have written, Taiwanese have made a choice. Some sort of unification is all but inevitable in the coming decades unless China collapses. I'd think twice about citizenship if I were you. I know it's completely out for me now.


Does it really matter what China wants / thinks? The only way any kind of unification could happen would be via war (unlikely) or via the people of Taiwan voting in a referendum to unify with China (even more unlikely). China can believe whatever they want but that's not going to convince the people of Taiwan to want to join the PRC. Unless there's some third way I'm missing?
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Mucha Man » 16 Jan 2012, 13:54

cfimages wrote:...Does it really matter what China wants / thinks? The only way any kind of unification could happen would be via war (unlikely) or via the people of Taiwan voting in a referendum to unify with China (even more unlikely). China can believe whatever they want but that's not going to convince the people of Taiwan to want to join the PRC. Unless there's some third way I'm missing?


I'm very doubtful now that a serious majority-proof resistance to some form of political accommodation (that is acceptable to China) exists. 80% of people may identify themselves as Taiwanese, but an equal number also identify themselves as environmentalists. Neither condition seems to have much effect on voting patterns or personal behavior. People like to talk and say all manner of things in polls, but the reality is different. hell, much of the voting population still looks back at martial law as a happy time.

As Chewie has said, the Taiwanese acted extremely pragmatically this election. Why would it be any different with an increasingly powerful China breathing down their necks and making demands over the coming years?

Huang Guang Chen made a good prediction. He said at some point Taiwan and China will come up with some face saving policy where Taiwan admits officially it is part of China and China admits it is a self-governing body and nothing more will need to be done for the time being.
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Icon » 16 Jan 2012, 14:18

Well, in other news, they expected a tournout of 76 to 80%, and they got a bit over 75%.

Furthermore, I am a firm believer that whatever happens to Taiwan depends on what happens in China. If the CCP's hold falters, Taiwan is going to be the proverbial chicken to be killed to scare the dog, and become another Tibet. Taiwna can only be separate from the Mainland for so long, as many Overseas Chinese communities expect, even demand, legendary unseen accords to be respected.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Mawvellous » 16 Jan 2012, 15:53

Ma played a blinder on the 92 consensus and a majority of voters seem to support this approach. Tsai's Taiwan consensus was too vague - she seemed to be stuck between recognizing the need to move to the centre on cross-Strait issues and keeping her base happy. She did do well however highlighting the plight of the economic losers from closer integration with China - if voters don't feel better off after four more years of closer integration with China, the DPP will have a good chance in 2016, but if salaries and living standards pick-up the KMT will win again in 2016.

Also - it seems to be taken as an article of faith that polls in the pro-blue media massively overestimate KMT support, but was not the case this time. They did overestimate Soong's vote - but that was because many Soong supporters switched to Ma in the final week because they were worried about a Tsai win.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby headhonchoII » 16 Jan 2012, 16:15

I agree with Maw, they are giving the KMT another 4 years to see how it pans out, I doubt they will win the next election unless salaries pick up and the government pares back from it's big biz approach. Could be wrong though.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby TaipeiDawg » 16 Jan 2012, 16:23

Muzha Man wrote:
cfimages wrote:...Does it really matter what China wants / thinks? The only way any kind of unification could happen would be via war (unlikely) or via the people of Taiwan voting in a referendum to unify with China (even more unlikely). China can believe whatever they want but that's not going to convince the people of Taiwan to want to join the PRC. Unless there's some third way I'm missing?


I'm very doubtful now that a serious majority-proof resistance to some form of political accommodation (that is acceptable to China) exists. 80% of people may identify themselves as Taiwanese, but an equal number also identify themselves as environmentalists. Neither condition seems to have much effect on voting patterns or personal behavior. People like to talk and say all manner of things in polls, but the reality is different. hell, much of the voting population still looks back at martial law as a happy time.

MM is absolutely correct. I think Richard Kagan described candidate Ma very accurately in this pre-election piece: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... /13/kagan/

Ma Ying-jeou, the current president and chair of the ruling party, the Kuomintang (KMT), is seeking a second term. During his first term he has taken credit not only for reducing cross-strait tensions with China, but also for increasing economic opportunities for Taiwan's entrepreneurs in China. He says the idea is "not only to reduce the possibility of miscalculation, but more importantly, to increase the cost of reversing this trend."

Although Ma says he opposes unification, Taiwan independence and the use of force, he is clearly working to embed Taiwan within China's economy and sovereignty. In short, he wants to keep Taiwan within a unified "one China" household.


I see the DPP as being at an increasing disadvantage going forward. As Taiwan becomes more integrated into China's economic sphere, which China is all too happy to accommodate - especially in the short term, the KMT will hold a major advantage at being able to negotiate better results with China. Already the narrative was out there for this election that Taiwan's economy would suffer if the DPP were elected due to strained relations with China. Additionally, dwindling US support for anything more than assuring fair elections in Taiwan will also work in favor of the KMT.

Contrary to Omni's eloquent support of Ma, most of the blue supporters I talked to were voting for him because they could never support a DPP candidate - not because Ma or the KMT was doing such a great job. This is a reflection of the zero sum nature of the political society here. Even given that there is some amount of swing vote in the equation, increased economic integration with China is going to tip the balance more in favor of the KMT as time goes by and make it very difficult for the DPP to overcome. It's too early to tell but it is possible that the DPP could become marginalized to the point of only serving as some kind of brake to slow the momentum. I don't think this is necessarily good news for Taiwan's 'vibrant democracy' but if that's what the majority of the electorate here sees as the best course for the future then so be it.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Mawvellous » 16 Jan 2012, 16:58

TaipeiDawg wrote:
I see the DPP as being at an increasing disadvantage going forward. As Taiwan becomes more integrated into China's economic sphere, which China is all too happy to accommodate - especially in the short term, the KMT will hold a major advantage at being able to negotiate better results with China. Already the narrative was out there for this election that Taiwan's economy would suffer if the DPP were elected due to strained relations with China. Additionally, dwindling US support for anything more than assuring fair elections in Taiwan will also work in favor of the KMT.

Contrary to Omni's eloquent support of Ma, most of the blue supporters I talked to were voting for him because they could never support a DPP candidate - not because Ma or the KMT was doing such a great job. This is a reflection of the zero sum nature of the political society here. Even given that there is some amount of swing vote in the equation, increased economic integration with China is going to tip the balance more in favor of the KMT as time goes by and make it very difficult for the DPP to overcome. It's too early to tell but it is possible that the DPP could become marginalized to the point of only serving as some kind of brake to slow the momentum. I don't think this is necessarily good news for Taiwan's 'vibrant democracy' but if that's what the majority of the electorate here sees as the best course for the future then so be it.


Of course, both the green and blue side have a substantial base of supporters that will never vote for the other side. The DPP reached its nadir in 2008 and still got 42% of the vote. The KMT has a slightly larger base. In the middle there are a small number of floating voters who are willing to switch- Chen's win in 2004 shows that it is possible for a DPP candidate to win a majority.

If salaries and living standards stagnate over the next four years Ma's policies will be blamed and the DPP will have a very good chance of winning back the presidency. Ma's challenge will be to ensure that enough people benefit economically from cross-Strait integration - to do this he will have to force enterprises to take on a greater burden to ensure the income gap does not become too wide and provide social welfare.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby TaipeiDawg » 16 Jan 2012, 17:19

Mawvellous wrote:If salaries and living standards stagnate over the next four years Ma's policies will be blamed and the DPP will have a very good chance of winning back the presidency. Ma's challenge will be to ensure that enough people benefit economically from cross-Strait integration - to do this he will have to force enterprises to take on a greater burden to ensure the income gap does not become too wide and provide social welfare.

Well, that sounds nice but I wouldn't be too sure about it. First of all, it would be in China's interest not to let Ma fail so they would do what they could to prop up the economy even if it was artificially stimulated. Secondly, even if increased integration did result in stagnated salaries and living standards it would be very, very difficult to argue that the DPP would be in a position to improve things - especially as the degree of integration increases. It will always be easier to argue that no matter how bad it is, it would be even worse with the DPP in power as China won't cooperate with them. That's why I would argue that the playing field will be increasingly uneven as time goes by.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Mawvellous » 16 Jan 2012, 18:15

TaipeiDawg wrote:
Mawvellous wrote:If salaries and living standards stagnate over the next four years Ma's policies will be blamed and the DPP will have a very good chance of winning back the presidency. Ma's challenge will be to ensure that enough people benefit economically from cross-Strait integration - to do this he will have to force enterprises to take on a greater burden to ensure the income gap does not become too wide and provide social welfare.

Well, that sounds nice but I wouldn't be too sure about it. First of all, it would be in China's interest not to let Ma fail so they would do what they could to prop up the economy even if it was artificially stimulated. Secondly, even if increased integration did result in stagnated salaries and living standards it would be very, very difficult to argue that the DPP would be in a position to improve things - especially as the degree of integration increases. It will always be easier to argue that no matter how bad it is, it would be even worse with the DPP in power as China won't cooperate with them. That's why I would argue that the playing field will be increasingly uneven as time goes by.


Yes, I agree. I don't think the DPP will argue against economic integration in itself - but instead they will argue that new domestic policies are needed to deal with the widening income gap, rising house prices and other economic ills that are often blamed on closer integration with China . This is what Tsai tried to do this time - if people don't feel their living standards rise in the next four years this kind of strategy will be very effective.
However, the KMT also has policies in place to deal with these kind of issues and China will no doubt continue to offer sweeteners to ensure the Taiwanese pubic continues to support economic integration.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Cueball » 16 Jan 2012, 21:43

TaipeiDawg offers an interesting point of review. China will certainly try to keep things as sweet as possible for another four years. Unless Taiwan goes into relative recession and unemployment spikes, people may just vote KMT by default in future national elections. The DPP have never really broken the KMT's monopoly on power. 2000 was due to in-fighting between Soong and Lien. 2004 was down to incumbancy and a poor KMT candidate. I don't think Taiwanese love the KMT, but I think enough people see them as the natural party of government that they don't really consider an alternative. That's no different to the LDP in Japan, who had it fairly sweet for about half a century.

Omniloquacious wrote:I 've already answered it, back on page 23.


Sorry, I missed that.

You're right that a "peace treaty" may now not happen, but would you go so far as to say there won't be any significant political documents/agreements at all? For example, something that set out in type that Taiwan is part of China and defining what that meant?

With respect to a referendum, what would be the most likely sort of political agreement (made at any time even after 2016) that you think should be subject to a binding referendum? Do you think that once elected a government can do what it likes if it can command a legislative majority, or do you think that a "peace treaty" (even if it codified the "one China" relationship) is somehow irrelevant and not something that the public should be consulted on?
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