Can the DPP's Win become Taiwan's Win?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 02, 2014
Executive Summary: The Democratic Progressive Party won this election. It now hopes to win the 2016 presidential election. But if Taiwan is to win, the DPP must not slam shut the nation’s doors and engage in political and economic obstructionism. The DPP must adopt a more pragmatic political and economic policy path. Can the DPP make such a pragmatic change? That remains a giant question mark.
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen said that the DPP will use this election to win back Taiwan. The DPP has won big. But can the DPP turn its own victory into Taiwan's victory?
This election was a political tsunami. It totally transformed Taiwan’s political landscape. No single factor can explain the outcome of this election. But everyone agrees that public discontent with the central government was the primary cause of this "democratic coup."
How should we interpret the results of this election? Does it mean that 60% of the public has rejected the Ma government’s political and economic policy path? Does it mean they prefer the Democratic Progressive Party’s political and economic policy path?
The Ma government's political and economic policy path is clear and consistent. It stresses business-oriented globalization and cross-Strait coopetition. On the one hand, cross-Strait relations supports globalization, On the other hand, globalization provides a check on cross-Strait relations, resulting in a virtuous circle. So what exactly are the election results telling us? Did they repudiate and overturn the nation’s political and economic path?
If the answer is yes, we must ask another question. Did this election wholeheartedly affirm the DPP’s economic and political path? The DPP’s current political and economic policy path is summed up in its "four pillars." One. Repudiate the 1992 consensus. Two. Refuse to nullify or freeze the Taiwan independence party platform. Three. Continue engaging in backdoor listing. Argue that “The Republic of China is Taiwan, and Taiwan is the Republic of China.” Four. Connect with the rest of the world before connecting with the Chinese mainland. The question now is this: Does the outcome of this election mean the public has given the DPP a mandate to implement its political and economic policy path?
During these local elections, political and economic issues were concealed, distorted, or diluted. Therefore this election merely reflected intense public dissatisfaction with the central government. Was this a reflection of opposition to the Ma government’s political and economic policy path, or identification with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s political and economic policy path? That is hard to say. Therefore, this election was merely an election that "critiqued the KMT" or "expressed dissatisfaction with the KMT." It cannot be interpreted as voter identification with the DPP.
This election has greatly increased the likelihood of the DPP returning to power in 2016. The DPP’s political and economic policy path will then be subject to an acid test. It will no longer be able to evade the issues. If the DPP is still clinging to the aforementioned "four pillars" that make up its political and economic policy path, it will have painted itself into a corner, on Taiwan and everywhere else. Therefore this election means only that the public rejected the Kuomintang. This may help the DPP return to power in 2016. But if the DPP refuses to change its political and economic policy path, Taiwan will find itself trapped with no way out. It will not be able to either advance or retreat. If the public on Taiwan asks the DPP to cure Taiwan's political and economic problems, it will be accepting medical advice from a snake oil salesman.
If the Democratic Progressive Party seeks a return to power, it must jettison its political and economic policy path. The key is Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP, and how they intend to interpret the results of this election. One. They can interpret it as an opportunity to divorce themselves from fundamentalist ideology. They can use it to overturn the DPP's "four pillars” political and economic policy path. Two. They can interpret the election as anti-Ma sentiment morphing into Taiwan independence fundamentalist anti-Mainland sentiment. They can cite it as reason to cling to its "four pillars” policy path. We urge the DPP to accept the first interpretation, capitalize on the trend, and throw off the shackles of the past.
This election has become a highly ironic political paradox. The public is unhappy with Ma Ying-jeou and the Kuomintang. This makes it likely that the DPP will win the 2016 presidential election. But if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, it will be compelled to “continue the previous administration’s cross-Strait policy." Tsai Ing-wen publicly admitted as much in 2012. The DPP will be compelled to plagiarize the Ma government's political and economic policy path. If it refuses to do so, the DPP government and Taiwan will be trapped. The is the connection between globalization, the rise of the Chinese mainland, and Taiwan’s inevitable marginalization. Tsai Ing-wen or the DPP cannot change this merely by wishing it isn’t so. As the title of this article noted, the Democratic Progressive Party has emerged the winner of this election. But will Taiwan be a winner as well? That remains to be seen.
The DPP must now change its political and economic policy path, making it consistent with Taiwan’s long-term interests. It must make the party's victory Taiwan's victory. Only this will win it the public support it craves. Some have suggested that President Ma Ying-jeou serve as Tsai Ing-wen’s Premier. This of course is sheer fantasy. But it does suggest the political and economic policy path the DPP should take. The most urgent task for the DPP is to facilitate the passage of the STA, MTA, and to establish cross-Strait representative offices in the legislature. Doing so would reduce the cross-Strait friction generated by the Democratic Progressive Party’s return to power. This would lend greater credibility to the DPP government’s "unconditional acceptance" of the previous administration’s cross-Strait policy.
The Democratic Progressive Party won this election. It now hopes to win the 2016 presidential election. But if Taiwan is to win, the DPP must not slam shut the nation’s doors and engage in political and economic obstructionism. The DPP must adopt a more pragmatic political and economic policy path. Can the DPP make such a pragmatic change? That remains a giant question mark.
2014.12.02 02:13 am