The News Lens international edition is sponsored by Tutor A B C

Early last year, the DPP and its long-suffering Taipei chapter declined to nominate 2016 legislative election candidates for most of the city’s districts. The independent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) mayoral campaign of 2014 had been a huge success, and the DPP leadership wanted to build on that with an original strategy to try to sweep Taipei’s districts by teaming up with “third force” candidates – even blues – that didn’t have the DPP label (which had long been a negative in the deeply blue Taipei). Eventually it ran 2 DPP candidates (one an incumbent) and endorsed 3 independents (two of them blue and one of them green), 1 SDP-Green candidate, 1 NPP candidate, and 1 PFP candidate. These 8 people were named the Capital Reform League and were declared a month before Election Day. They can be seen in this list of all DPP-endorsed candidates. Buses with ads sporting their images were run all over the city, and Ko implicitly endorsed all the candidates.

But in the end, ironically, only the three “greenest” alliance candidates won: the two DPPers and the NPPer. This was a stark and painful contrast to the New Taipei campaign, where the DPP and NPP won 10 of 12 races, taking 8 seats away from the KMT. Why didn’t the DPP’s Taipei alliance do that well? Here are 8 reasons.

1. SDP-Green candidates split the opposition vote in Taipei 3, 4, 7, and 8, and effectively swung the races in T3, T4, and T7 (The NPP and TSU also sucked up opposition votes in T4). In each of these 4 districts, the top 2 opposition candidates combined for more than you’d expect a DPP candidate to get there given past results (and usually for more than Wu Su-yao or Freddy Lim received), indicating the opposition was indeed reaching additional centrist voters the DPP wanted; there just weren’t enough of them to overcome a split opposition vote.

The SDP-Greens had to run in at least 10 districts to qualify for the party list vote since they were a new party. Because the SDP was a new party of mostly Taipei people, of course it was going to run mostly in Taipei, especially given that its convener Fan Yun (范雲) basically didn’t care about personal, party, or pan-green electoral strategy. The SDP had announced its Taipei 7 and 8 candidates months before the blue opposition candidates entered those races, and the party and others assumed these were the people the DPP would step aside for, but the SDP’s adamant refusal to cooperate with or endorse either the DPP or Tsai gave the DPP pause and the KMT defectors time to jump in the race.

Since the SDP-Green alliance broke 2% in the party list in the election results, provided they don’t split up again, they can run many less district campaigns in the future and won’t play the spoiler so often. Even so, it’s likely that even if the SDP-Greens hadn’t run in these races, another pan-green party (the attention-hungry TSU) would have gladly emerged as a spoiler. Why?

The News Lens international edition has been authorized to repost part of this article. The full piece is published on Ketagalan Media here: 8 Reasons the DPP Fell Short in Taipei

First Editor: Olivia Yang