Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), aka Daniel Han, met with high level KMT leaders yesterday evening for dinner. The meeting raised questions about whether Han is once again going to seek elected office.

Han met with current chairman of the KMT and fellow loser to Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Eric Chu (朱立倫), former KMT chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), and unification-desirer Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康). All very powerful members of the KMT. These men were also all able to hang on to their English names, besides Jaw (unless you consider his weird romanization of his surname to be an English name), which is not an easy feat in Taiwan. 

The 4, which is an odd choice for an amount of people being that 4 is a very inauspicious number in Taiwan, met for a private dinner yesterday evening. Reportedly this was to show solidarity within the KMT, which has been having a rough go of it as of late, getting absolutely bodied in during the recent referendum vote, losing on all four issues.

Recently there have been rumors going around that Han might attempt a run at either the Taoyuan or Taipei mayoral positions, as they will be up for grabs this November, as Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) have now served 2 terms. However, according to various people surrounding Han, and from Han himself (however much you trust him), it sounds like he’s at least going to take a break from politics for the time being. Plus he’s gotta sell his new book, Mr. Han Knocks at the Door (韓先生來敲門).

This is also possibly a way to get more support as many of those in attendance currently have horrible approval ratings. In a recent poll of the popularity for high level politicians Eric Chu came in dead last with only 21 percent saying that they were satisfied with his performance. In polling leading up to the race for KMT Chairman last year, Jonny Chiang only garnered 10.3 percent well behind even Chu. In a recent favorability poll, Jaw came in dead last, he was also the only candidate that scored less than 5 points (the scale was 1-10), with only 4.6 points

While it is unlikely that a group of old, mostly unpopular KMT political figures meeting for dinner will do much for the general distaste much of the Taiwanese populace seems to have for the current KMT leadership, it is likely that they are scheming how to remain relevant and regain any chance at taking back the presidency.

The KMT is increasingly seen as the party of the older generation (though according to polling actually not the oldest generation, more upper middle age), and routinely out of step with the thinking of average people. This makes sense even when you look at the most basic of issues such as unification with China, like our old buddy Jaw wants.

In polling data from December of last year, only 1.5 percent of Taiwanese wanted “unification as soon as possible” and even if that is combined with “maintain status quo, move towards unification,” the total is still well below 10 percent and is shrinking every year. The KMT seems largely to be a party of cheap political stunts as of late, y’all remember when KMT legislators were throwing pig entrails around the Legislative Yuan? It seems they are a directionless party in search of a savior. An while DPP stans might cheer this development on, it actually probably isn’t the best thing for Taiwan.

Democracies tend to thrive when there are strong (though hopefully competent and well-intentioned) opposition parties. Now, the KMT could have a comeback, finding some issue that they can hang their hat on, or another party could take its place. Perhaps Ko’s  Taiwan People’s Party (台灣民眾黨) could become stronger, though with only 5 seats in the Legislative Yuan it has its work cut out for it.

Another possibility is that one of the parties further towards independence grabs a slice of that pie. Perhaps the Taiwan Statebuilding Party (台灣基進黨) or the New Power Party (時代力量). Though they have a combined total of 3 members in the Legislative Yuan (all belonging to the NPP) and they have 0 mayors in their parties, while the TPP at least has one, that being Ko (though he will be out of office after elections this November).

It is likely that another wedge issue will invigorate the KMT and they will snatch back more power. It must also be stated that the party isn’t dead (however fortunate or not you think that is). Taiwan is still covered with deep blue areas that will likely vote for the KMT for the rest of our lifetimes. They also still hold 38 seats in the Legislative Yuan and the majority and mayoral and magistrate positions in Taiwan (12 out of the total of 16). Though with local elections coming up, if the KMT remains rudderless, it could see some of those positions disappear.

It is impossible to say what will happen, but Taiwan needs checks and balances that actually hold the DPP accountable and push Taiwan to continuously improve. The KMT, at least in its current iteration, doesn’t seem up to this task. Hopefully one or more parties can come forward to push Taiwan in the right direction, because if the DPP is the only game in town, history shows us they will rest on their laurels and Taiwan will stagnate. (BTW Taiwan should be pushing for ranked-choice voting as it gives smaller parties a much better shot at winning power!)