What you need to know
In occupying the legislature in a futile attempt to block the appointment of Chen Chu, the KMT chose the wrong hill to die on.
The Kuomintang’s short-lived occupation of the legislature was an unambiguous failure. Not only in its result, but also in the party’s decision-making and impact. Its ending was almost absurd and comical.
The KMT occupation was an attempt to mimic the Sunflower Movement activists, those the party once considered to be “rioters.” The KMT tried to steer the conversation with more fierce measures in hopes of reuniting the blue camp, but ended up with a public farce.
Many of the KMT legislators made many mind-boggling decisions, including claiming to have planned the occupation for two weeks and barging into the legislature hall yet demanding to turn on air-conditioning.
It may not be wrong to use a stronger resistance method when it comes to party rivalry. However, the KMT targeting the nomination of Chen Chu, someone who was once politically persecuted, was far from a smart move. At the very least, raising the stakes to physical clashes and restless screaming could not have earned any legitimacy or empathy.
Of course, the question of whether the KMT’s tactics are politically legitimate touches on the fundamental problems of legal and political philosophy. Why is the Sunflower Movement commonly held to be legitimate, or even moral, to occupy the legislature, but not for the KMT?
Take the Taiwanese constitutional reforms crisis of 2005, for example. At that time, some members of the legislature pounded on tables and yelled slogans in an attempt to stall for time. Abolishing the National Assembly was a matter of national importance. Although it was unpopular to oppose the changes, the debate touched on the very structure of Taiwan’s political system. That was a more appropriate occasion to push the boundaries.
In movements for women’s rights, racial equality, and free speech, people have not always practiced “civility.” Yet these movements tactics and their aims are eminently justified. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement is a good example of this.
KMT’s decision-making and strategy are utter failures
The Control Yuan nomination is typically not a life or death issue for Taiwan’s democratic system. But the KMT chose to die on this hill because of desperation from its continuous defeats. After losing the presidential election and having Han Kuo-yu recalled, the blue camp is under pressure to react. The KMT’s leaders are worried about the by-election in Kaohsiung and protecting the current legislative seats — they must come up with a distraction to capture the media narrative and public opinion.
Yet the strategists under the leadership of KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang were beyond disastrous.
Stating a single issue clearly was never a strong suit for KMT politicians. Many of the current partylist legislators in the blue camp have no public rapport and their names are barely recognizable. Even when a party reform is overdue, the KMT still fails to recognize that taking a pro-China stance has already lost its mainstream audience in Taiwan.
The KMT is mediocre at everything from strategic planning, execution, to consistent messaging. Igniting the Sunflower generation would only be a dream for the KMT, a party absent of effective leadership and timely decision-making skills. We are witnessing the downfall of a century-old political party.
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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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