Cindy Sui at Asia Times offers a well-written article on the post-election woes of the DPP:

How things got this bad is a question many DPP members are asking lately. Coming to terms with the answers, however, won’t be easy for a party which rose from humble beginnings - it was founded in 1986 by family members and defense lawyers of political prisoners during the KMT’s authoritarian rule - and quickly grew from being technically illegal until 1991 to the ruling party in 2000, ending more than half a century of KMT rule.

“There are many reasons for the party’s failures, but to me the biggest reasons are lack of internal coherence and failure to deliver on policy promises,” Lai said.

Supporters, including those who remember and appreciate the DPP’s heyday of fighting for democracy and social welfare, became disillusioned after they re-elected Chen for a second term as president in 2004 and did not see results from his administration, or the DPP, on promises to take back illegally obtained KMT party assets, root out corruption and streamline the government.

Corruption involving DPP party officials, especially alleged embezzlement and insider trading by Chen’s family, turned off many supporters. The DPP argues that corruption during KMT rule was much worse, but the people expected better, Lai and others said.

Supporters also lost interest in one of the party’s main causes - promoting Taiwan’s independence from China, which still claims the island as part of its territory. People preferred the party focus instead on issues that had a direct impact on their lives - especially creating jobs and boosting incomes.

Young voters in particular increasingly supported the rival KMT, seeing it as the party of the future and hope, much like the way they saw the DPP back in 2000 when Chen was elected as Taiwan’s first non-KMT president.

The ideas expressed in the article tend to cohere with what I’ve been hearing — “the party lost touch with the people” is a common remark. On Sunday I had the good fortune to attend a meeting of future DPP Taichung Mayoral candidate Lin Chia-lung and Taichungers who wanted their views known. The party is willing to listen…but is it willing to learn? Only time will tell.