It’s probably not news to anyone that the KMT’s choice of Jennifer Wang for VP hasn’t been well received. But just in case you thought that maybe it was all overblown, here’s some evidence.
Chu’s official campaign website lists the public schedules each day for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. It has been exactly a month since they started posting Wang’s daily schedule. My strategy is simply to count the number of events they list for each candidate each day. If there is a big discrepancy between the two, it might reflect the campaign’s unwillingness to put Wang on display. In fact, I count 119 events for Chu and only 44 for Wang. There was only one day (Dec 6) in which Wang had more scheduled events than Chu.
In fact, this overestimates how useful Wang has been to the Chu campaign. If you look at the events, Chu goes to a lot of large scale outdoor events where he speaks to bigger crowds. Wang’s events tend to be much smaller and indoors. If you look at the names of the events, it is also obvious that she is only being allowed to speak to very select, strongly partisan audiences. For example, Saturdays are the most important day for campaigning. On Saturday, December 12, Chu spoke at 6 events. 5 of these were outdoor events to launch a campaign office. Wang attended 4 events, including an awards ceremony for the CKS scholarship, an event at a Catholic organization, a luncheon with a support group in Taipei’s Peitou District, and the opening ceremony for the women’s support organization for Chiang Wan-an’s campaign. All four of these seem to be indoor, small-scale events.
I would do the same exercise for the DPP, but I can’t. The DPP posts daily schedules, but then they remove them at the end of each day. However, my impression from looking up the schedules several times is that they use Chen Chien-jen much more intensively than the KMT uses Wang. Chen seems to be scheduled for nearly as many events as Tsai, and he does a lot of mid-sized events. Tsai does all the major events, but Chen stands in as the main speaker at a lot of events to open smaller campaign offices.
It’s not as if vice-presidential candidates matter that much. Still, it is telling that the KMT seems to be shielding Wang from the public as much as possible. Of course, they can’t completely hide her away; that would be publicly admitting that she was a bad choice. Instead, they seem to be exposing her as little as possible and only to carefully screened audiences. As much as has gone wrong for the KMT’s presidential campaign this year, they could have used at least one thing going right. Oh well.