A Party's Decline becomes Taiwan's Concern
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 28, 2014
Summary: Only 90 days remain until the year end elections. These elections are
known as the "nine in one elections." But the elections that concern us
the most are the county and municipal elections, particularly five
municipal elections. These will surely be given political
interpretations. It is too early to predict what the results will be.
What one ought to focus on, is the impact that news events will have on
voter support for the various political parties.
Full Text Below:
Only 90 days remain until the year end elections. These elections are known as the "nine in one elections." But the elections that concern us the most are the county and municipal elections, particularly five municipal elections. These will surely be given political interpretations. It is too early to predict what the results will be. What one ought to focus on, is the impact that news events will have on voter support for the various political parties.
This relationship is of course not the daily focus of the news media. Nor are the instant polls conducted following unexpected events. Some commentators have deliberately exaggerated the impact of the Kaohsiung gas explosion on the Kaohsiung election. Others have gotten considerable mileage out of Chang Hsien-yao's resignation, on the assumption that it will influence voting trends in economics-minded voters in the northern and central regions. In fact, Instant polls and unexpected Incidents have only short-term effects. Their impact on long-term public opinion is not great.
We are more concerned about recent poll data, including those published by this newspaper. A trend has developed that affects the image of political parties. Split tickets have appeared in party nominations for certain counties and municipalities. Take the blue camp. Six counties will apparently have split tickets. The green camp also has two counties and municipalities with split tickets. Comrades are engaging in internecine warfare. This, combined with the aforementioned impact that unexpected incidents are having the images of political parties, are the most noteworthy indicators so far during this election.
First, consider the public image of the various political parties. A number of specialized organizations have gradually released their poll data. An interesting phenomenon has occurred. Blue camp support has hit bottom and remained there. No significant recovery is apparent. Also interesting is that although blue camp support may have bottomed out, no significant rise in support for the green camp has been detected. Both the blue and green camps often end up in the doldrums. The same phenomenon holds true for ruling and opposition party leaders. President Ma's support rate has not improved. Chairman Tsai's shows no signs of improvement either.
The message of this trend, as revealed by the poll numbers, is that mainstream public opinion is not favorably disposed towards either the ruling or opposition parties. This has been the case all year for incidents major and minor. The Taipei City election will ultimately be about two politicians facing off. This will be the result of the atmosphere currently generated.
Voters have rejected both the blue and green camps out of sheer frustration. Members of the public on Taiwan share certain things in common. They must endure a ruling party paralyzed and unable to act, and an opposition party indifferent to right and wrong and determined to bring down the government. The ruling party is autistic. The opposition party is hyperactive. The nation naturally ends up marking time. Most countries the world over, especially in the Asian-Pacific region, are busy enhancing their competitiveness. The ROC, by contrast, is still hobbled by old ideological baggage. Why shouldn't voters be angry?
Worse still, President Ma should have fulfilled his role as helmsman. Instead, he has lost all confidence. He has been browbeaten to the point where he is now afraid to do anything. His administration is plagued with a high turnover. People are more confident after stepping down than they were when they stepped up. Crisis management consumes more time than policy advancement. Opposition DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen confines herself to poor-mouthing anything and everything. She never offers a convincing vision worthy of public trust. Her only point, reiterated endlessly, is that as long as the DPP is allowed to govern. the Mainland will adjust its policies to suit Taiwan. Naturally the Mainland lashed back and denied any such possibility. As a result she was left with nothing to offer whatsoever. All she could do was obstruct any and all bills crucial to our nation's competitiveness, and humiliate any and all public officials, and prevent the ruling party from getting anything done. Her premise has been that if the ruling KMT lost, then the opposition DPP won. As a result the biggest loser has been the ROC. When a nation finds itself mired in such circumstances long term, what alternatives do voters have?
The public images of the ruling and opposition parties have been undermined. Naturally this will lead to a failure of internal control mechanisms. When the ruling and opposition parties concluded their nomination process, comrades continued their bickering. They were even willing to divide their parties. Six counties and municipalities in the blue camp are split. This is an historic first. Obviously tensions in these blue camp constituencies are running high. Victory is not assured even in a one on one campaign, let alone with a split ticket. One may as well concede defeat in advance. This is a simple truth, as anyone with political sense knows. Yet some candidates insist on playing this game out. The only possible explanation is that the party leadership no longer commands any authority. Put more bluntly, it is not that the adults are away. It is that there are no adults watching over the family.
Nor does the green camp have anything to bet excited about. The record shows that the ruling party's failures do not translate into the opposition party's gains. The mayoral election for the nation's capital does not have a single A List candidate. A gas explosion in Kaohsiung led to flagrant buck-passing. The Kaoshiung City Government excels at blaming central government officials. But it has shown no indication of readiness to govern, The DPP has apparently never been able to find its way out of this dilemma.
這 些徵候，當然不是每天出現在不同新聞媒體上，那些被炮製的即時民調，也不是突發事件所衍生出的效應。例如就有部分論者刻意放大高雄氣爆事件，對大高雄選情 的衝擊；也有人會拿張顯耀去職事件大文章，認為其勢必會大幅影響北中選區經濟選民的投票動向。事實上，即時民調也好，突發事件也罷，都可能只有短期效應， 對長期民意走向趨勢的影響並不大。
我們比較關注的是，是最近包括本報在內相關機構所發布的民調數據，在政黨總體形象 上所出現的走勢；以及相關縣市政黨提名所出現的分裂現象。例如目前藍軍部分，有6個縣市出現分裂，綠軍陣營也有兩個縣市出現分裂現象，這些在政黨內部所出 現的同志相爭現象，結合前述政黨形象走向所透露的徵候，恐怕才是現階段最值得觀察這場選舉的參考指標。
先談政黨總體 形象部分，從若干較為專業的機構所陸續發布的民調數據，不難發現其中頗為耐人尋味的現象，即是藍營的支持度雖已破底止跌，但也沒有出現顯著回升的情況。同 樣有趣的是，在藍營支持率一路低迷景況下，並未同步讓綠營出現顯著攀升的情況，經常是藍綠陣營像難兄難弟一樣伴隨共同低迷。這種現象也一樣出現在朝野領導 人身上，亦即縱然馬總統的支持率未見好轉，蔡主席亦未顯現出明顯的明日之星態勢。
這 種同步厭棄藍綠的背後，透露的其實是更多的無奈！畢竟當前所有台灣人所共同面對的，是一個舉步維艱、寸步難行的執政黨，以及一個不問是非、只圖拖垮施政的 在野黨。一個遲緩兒執政黨，一個過動兒在野黨，這個國家當然只有原地踏步的份，當全球多數國家，特別是亞太諸國都在拚競爭力的時候，台灣還在為一些陳舊的 意識型態包袱互扯後腿，試問選民有什麼理由不憤怒？
更糟糕的是，原本該是扮演舵手角色的馬總統，彷彿已全然喪失了自 信，被罵到現階段啥事都不敢做，行政團隊更是頻頻出包，甚至下台的比上台還理直氣壯，結果就是危機處理多過政策推進。而在野黨這邊的蔡主席，除了一路唱 衰，從未提出過任何值得台灣人信服的願景，唯一反覆強調只有一點，就是只要讓他們執政，大陸就一定會調整政策，結果第一時間就被對岸回嗆，其他則是什麼像 樣的論述都未提出，有的只是矢力擋下所有攸關國家競爭力的法案，羞辱所有他們能羞辱的官員，讓執政黨無所做為，彷彿凡是執政黨輸的，就是在野黨贏的，結果 一路最大的輸家就是台灣，試問當一個國家長期處在這樣的局面中，選民還能有什麼更佳的選項？
朝野政黨在形象上的衰 敗，當然也會出現在內控機制的失靈上。這次朝野政黨在提名結束後，都陸續出現同志相爭，甚至不惜分裂到底之勢，藍營甚且有6個縣市出現分裂局面，堪稱選舉 史上的空前！試想藍營相關選區無不選情緊繃，連一對一都不一定贏的情況，還要搞分裂，還不如提前宣布落選算了！這個簡單的道理，任何有起碼政治常識的人都 知道，卻依舊堅持上演，唯一能解釋的就是黨中央的權威已經不再，講得再直白一些，不是大人不在家，而是沒人將大人當家長！