not an election postmortem

Well, that was a bad election for the DPP. I mean, it was really, really bad. Just disastrous. #analysis Sure, you can try to dismiss these results as simply the result of local problems and local elections (and I did try), but after staring really hard at the numbers for a day, it was simply too broad and too deep to explain away. The swing had to be grounded in dissatisfaction with President Tsai and the DPP government, and I’m not sure if she can recover from this repudiation.

It was bad for me too. I’ve spent much of the past few years arguing that the swing that occurred in the 2014-2016 cycle wasn’t likely to be ephemeral because it was grounded in long-term shifts in national identity. Uh, seems like that might have been ephemeral.

One thing I’m fairly sure of is that the 1992 Consensus will have a large place in the public debate over the next 14 or 16 months. Did you think it was dead? It might or might not be, but either way, the KMT is going to try to win the 2020 elections with it as the centerpiece. Yesterday’s results make its successful reanimation much more plausible.

Anyway, while I’m processing all these results, I’ll let everyone explain why it happened and what it means. There will be no shortage of opinions during the DPP’s imminent civil war over the next few months.

Here’s something different, a low-profile result that I don’t know if anyone has picked up on yet. The number of women elected to local councils continues to grow, albeit at a modest pace. In 2014, 278 (30.7%) of the 907 city and county council seats were won by women. By my count, this year that figure climbed to 33.8% (307 of 912). The growth was driven by more rural areas. In the six municipalities, women only won three more seats than last time (increasing from 35.5% to 36.3%), while in the sixteen other cities and counties, female representation increased from 27.3% to 32.1%.

This increase is important because, more and more, these local councils are the entry-level job into politics. That is, the candidate pool for higher-level positions, such as seats in the legislature (which elected 38% women in 2016), is drawn heavily from local councilors. In fact, I recently published a paper showing the importance of this pipeline for higher-level offices.

Americans are crowing about their Year of the Woman, but there is a huge gap between Democrats and Republicans. Nearly 40% of the Democrats in the House of Representatives are women, while fewer than 10% of Republicans are. Or, as I like to put it, Democrats are like Taiwan, and Republicans are like Japan.

2 Responses to “not an election postmortem”

  1. shiyali Says:

    You mentioned that the best KMT result for greater Kaohsiung was 50% by Ma in 2008. This time with a newcomer and basically unknown candidate they hit almost 54%. That’s rather shocking! What’s going on?

  2. jaichind Says:

    I think this election result is the return of the KMT local factions. If you look at urban areas I would call the KMT performance as “meh.” It is in rural areas that the KMT surge came. The surge came in areas where the various KMT rural local faction were once powerful but mostly decoupled itself from the national KMT. This election they came back to back the national KMT. The DPP over-performed in urban areas like Keelong Taoyuan and Hsinchu City where popular DPP incumbents that had cross partisan appeal won re-election with ease. The KMT surge came in rural areas of Changhua, Yunlin, Kaoshiung and Taichung where KMT local factions used to hold sway. If you look at these cities/counties the KMT swing are larger in rural areas than urban areas. DPP did well enough in Tainan and Jaiyi County mostly because the same KMT rural factions decided to back various Pan-Green rebels due to the lackluster nature of the KMT candidate.

    As to why the rural vote came back for the KMT. Part of it has to be the gay marriage referendum which split the DPP base between its rural conservative vote in the South base and the urban middle class progress youth in the South. The fall in agriculture prices plus the lure of the PRC as buyer of last resort for these agriculture products must play a role as well.

    Back in the the 1980s the partisan alignment on the ROC had the KMT strong in the rural South and DPP (oir proto-DPP) being strong in urban areas. This shifted in the 1990s and early 2000s due to the salience of the unification-Independence issue. Perhaps we are now seeing a reversal of this alignment.

    One last comment unrelated to all this: GO TRUMP 2020 !! TRUMP !!!! TRUMP !!! WHOOO.!!!!

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