I haven’t had anything to say recently. This is strange. What is even stranger is that we just had an election, and I’m completely uninterested. The election was the really, really grassroots election for village heads and township representatives. You can win one of these posts with just a few hundred votes. The vote buying in some of the local elections was heavy. The newspaper was quoting prices from NT3000-5000 in close races. In Jinmen, some votes were reportedly worth NT30,000 in a particularly intense race. That includes the price airfare. (Pay attention: That was a Jinmen reference!)
The DPP made some modest gains in the township representatives and very minor gains in the village head elections. Since these positions are overwhelmingly held by the KMT, DPP gains are hardly surprising. But political parties matter very little at this level. (Hard to believe I said that, given (a) the supposed importance of these positions in campaign organizations for higher-level elections, and (b) I have a paper in which I explicitly argue that county assembly elections (which on the surface seem equally devoid of partisanship) are in fact heavily partisan.) Let’s revise: these elections certainly matter collectively, but there are so many of them that no individual election matters very much. Also, there is simply too much in too many soap operas for us to understand.
I’ll make an effort at county assembly and city council elections; these are just too small.