A Turkey’s Story

In elections parlance, a turkey is a candidate who not only has no hope of winning, but moreover gets almost no votes.  Lin Jingyuan 林景元 might be Taiwan’s premier turkey, but, alas, he is not running in this year’s election.

Lin, who is now 85, announced that he would not run in this year’s election because he simply can’t afford the NT2m deposit.  Lin started running in elections when he was 35 and has run 27 different times.  Amazingly, he got off to a good start, winning his first three elections (to the Kaohsiung County Assembly).  Since 1971, however, he has lost 24 straight times.  In recent years (including the entire democratic era), he has never gotten more than a handful of votes.

Lin has run for the Kaohsiung County Assembly, Kaohsiung County Executive, Taiwan Provincial Assembly, Kaohsiung City Council, Legislative Yuan, National Assembly, and Kaohsiung City Mayor.

The news story I am cribbing from did not mention how much he has spent on these quixotic campaigns.  However, the deposits alone must amount to a considerable sum.  Deposits are only refunded if a candidate wins enough votes to pass a certain threshold (currently 10% of eligible voters for a mayoral race, or about 20-25% of the actual votes), and Lin hasn’t come close to this threshold in a long, long time.  Given that the deposit this year is NT2m (about USD 65,000), and he has forfeited handfuls of deposits, he probably isn’t leaving too much to the kids.

Personally, I’m not sad to see him sit out this race.  More turkeys means more data columns in my data files and more work for me.  I have spent countless extra hours because Lin Jingyuan, Fang Jingjun 方景鈞, and their ilk decided to play their games but couldn’t be bothered to actually, you know, get any supporters to vote for them.  Good riddance.

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