Campaign trail: DPP in Taitung

Liu Chao-hao is the DPP nominee for Taitung County magistrate. He is a two-term legislator, but, since indigenous voters do not vote in the regular legislative district, it is a lot easier for the DPP to win the Taitung legislative seat than the county magistrate. He has run for magistrate five times previously, and he lost every time. He was within 10,000 votes in 2009 and 2014 (against current KMT secretary general Justin Huang Chien-ting), but he got wiped out in 2018. This is a rematch of the 2018 race. The incumbent KMT magistrate, April Yao Ching-ling, is fairly popular, so there isn’t a lot a reason to be optimistic about Liu’s chances this time.

Both VP Lai and President Tsai spoke at the opening of Liu’s campaign headquarters on October 30. Lai may he let on how little confidence he has at the end of his talk by expressing reluctance to leave since he probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to come back for the rest of the campaign. Uh, if it’s a priority, he could make time.

The unique feature of this event is, shall I say, passion. Liu seemed to want to test the proposition that louder, faster, more energetic, and more forceful is always better. He set his internal settings to maximum right from the beginning, and he never backed off even a little. Most speakers pace their speeches so that there are peaks and valleys. Not Liu. He screamed at us for twenty minutes without relief. It was intense and relentless. Even the TV talk shows would have told him to chill out juuust a little.

I guess he convinced me that he loves Taitung, that he is energetic and passionate, and even that he understands the issues in detail. Since he is a five-time loser, he probably needs people to understand his relentless drive to win this office. But, honestly, I can’t remember anything he said. I can only remember a sense of overwhelming bombardment. It was exhausting. I kept hoping he would give me a bit of a break, but he never took his foot off the gas. President Tsai spoke after him, and I can’t really remember much of she said either. (She did say that Liu was one of her law school students.) I was mostly too dazed. Tsai’s relatively tranquil delivery was a palliative, but I was too traumatized to absorb much content.

In political communication, more is not always better.

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