How Su's China Committee Could Maim the DPP in 2016
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Last Wednesday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Su Tseng-chang lifted the curtain on the new China Affairs Committee (CSC), an advisory board tasked with creating crafting a nimbler China policy.
In the face of a changing China and an evolving Taiwan electorate, the CSC gives the DPP a shot at revamping its China policy and gaining some advantage in the 2016 presidential election. But the CSC is not likely to succeed, and here's why.
Before the DPP gets to the 2016 presidential election, it must first get through the 2014 local and municipal elections. These elections are critical tests for top-level party members: If heavyweights are able to lead a local or municipal level party member into a local office, they have a greater chance at gaining support for their own campaigns later on.
That tactical consideration is likely to prevent CSC members from rehauling their established stances on cross-strait policy. The CSC will be filled with DPP heavyweights, including presidential aspirants Tsai Ing-wen and Su Tseng-chang, who in the 2014 campaign will be competing among one another for a very limited quantity of DPP bids. To keep their long-established bids viable, CSC members are likely to lean conservative and be reluctant to compromise much on their long-established cross-strait policies.
What does that mean for the China committee? If each faction representative stands firm in the committee, the CSC is set to produce a repackaged form of policies that these same party heavyweights have produced so far. Specifically, the committee will make up a new way to talk about the old, vague "Taiwan Consensus," which didn't strike a chord with the public when Tsai touted it in her presidential campaign. …