Frozen Garlic: Campaign Trail: DPP rally in Taoyuan 4

The DPP candidate in Taoyuan 4 is Cheng Pao-ching, an old DPP war horse. Cheng has been prominent in local DPP politics since the early 1990s. He was elected to the legislature back in 1995 and lost the 2005 race for county magistrate (to Eric Chu). Four years ago, he made a dramatic comeback by challenging and defeating a very strong KMT incumbent, Yang Li-huan. Tsai Ing-wen won over 53% in this district in the presidential vote, but Yang had built up quite a strong personal vote over the years. Cheng won by 160 votes, less than 0.1%. This time Cheng is the incumbent and will have the advantage of four years of working the district. His opponent is a relatively young and unknown city councilor, Wan Mei-ling. If Tsai gets 53% in this district again this year, Cheng should win re-election comfortably.

The only speaker who stood out was Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. Normally, speakers who aren’t running talk about the issues of the day or say nice things about candidates who are running. Cheng spent his time talking about what a great job he is doing as mayor. He told us how hard he works every day, and then he talked about all the local development projects he is pushing through. When he finally got around to selling Cheng Pao-ching, he did so through the lens of his own efforts. Mayor Cheng told the crowd that legislator Cheng had been an invaluable partner, pushing national bureaucrats to process all of the city government’s projects and requests quickly so that things didn’t languish in the central government. “I call him most mornings to tell him what the city government needs, and he usually has a response from the relevant ministry before lunch and always by the afternoon.” Mayor Cheng is currently one of the most popular politicians in Taiwan, and DPP legislative candidates are quite happy to be able to ride his coattails. Even the KMT doesn’t dispute his effectiveness. I saw a TVBS (read: blue media) report a few days ago interviewing local KMT politicians who repeatedly said things like, “Mayor Cheng is unique, but his popularity doesn’t automatically transfer to other DPP candidates.” They are right; not all of that support will transfer. However, local DPP candidates are sailing with the wind at their back this year, and the mayor’s popularity certainly can’t hurt them.

Oh, yeah. There was one tiny but perhaps revealing comment that Mayor Cheng made. Cheng recalled that Han Kuo-yu had attacked some DPP politicians, such as President Tsai, as “white and fat” in contrast to his own “dark and thin.” Cheng, who is somewhat portly, proclaimed that it doesn’t matter whether you are thin or fat, what matters is whether you get things done. Then he added, if you want to run for president, you have to prepare; you can’t just start making speeches. I wonder if he was talking about Han or himself.

The KMT candidate’s headquarters are just a few blocks away; it looks like she is operating on a more modest budget. She is running as a social conservative. Her billboard reads, “education must not be chaotic, development can’t be slow.” In fine print, it says, “your vote determines children’s future. Chaotic (luan) education could refer to “improper” ideas of national identity, but I think most people will interpret as being about sex education and, by extension, same-sex marriage. It’s interesting that the first thing she wants you to know about her is her social conservatism, and economic development is merely the second theme.

Read the full report here:

Related Posts