Taiwan's 2020 Presidential Race
By: Courtney Donovan Smith (石東文)
Courtney Donovan Smith (石東文) is a contributing writer for The News Lens. He is a publisher of theCompass Magazine, current chairman of the Taichung American Chamber of Commerce, the Central Taiwan correspondent for ICRT Radio, the founder of the popular Taiwan News in English Facebook group and is an organizer of rock festivals including the Compass Food and Music Festival.
The legend of Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as the master of turning things around continues to grow. This week she slew the "god" William Lai (賴清德) , and so decisively that his insurgent forces will have to fall back into the fold or face a lonely winter come January. Any significant presidential-level rebellion is likely finished in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for this election cycle — the primary is over, and the incumbent Tsai is again the standard bearer for the party in the battle for the presidency.
The quelling of internal revolt wasn't all: Her presumptive opponents in the general election were served notice she is now the front-runner. The incumbent president trounced the two candidates the party deemed most likely to enter the race as her opponents in the general election: Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and independent Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of Taipei.
This was a huge turnaround. Only three months ago her approval rating had been languishing in the 20-30% range for quite some time and in all prospective matchups against her opponents, both internal and external, she wasn't even close; her own party was in revolt and pundits were writing her off as a long shot.