The 2024 Taiwan election has entered the countdown, and the situation of Lai Qingde, Hou Youyi, and Ke Wenzhe's "three-legged governor" (Hokkien, meaning the three strong) has gradually turned into a "blue-green showdown", and the support rate of Ke Wenzhe of the People's Party has shown a downward trend. In terms of "optimism", the DPP's Lai Ching-te and Hsiao Mei-qin's partnership is leading in the polls, but it is not yet possible to assert that "Lai Hsiao-pei" will definitely be elected, and the key lies in the degree of fermentation of the "skeptical theory" in Taiwan, and whether it will bring about the effect of "abandoning Ke Baohou".

The "scepticism" comes from the anxiety of war

The term "skeptical theory" first appeared in US political circles and think tanks, and because of Lai's strong ideology of "hardcore Taiwan independence," even the American elites who are willing to play the "Taiwan card" have questioned Lai. Deeply fearing that after his election, he will excessively swing to the "Taiwan independence" line and put the Taiwan Strait in turmoil and danger, and the United States will have to "confront China head-on".

Therefore, since Lai Ching-de's election candidaries, his words and deeds have often been aimed at appeasing the United States, such as demanding that the people in Taiwan "not doubt the United States," replacing the slogan of "resisting China and protecting Taiwan" with "peacefully protecting Taiwan," and also choosing Hsiao Meiqin, who has excellent relations with the United States, as his deputy. All these moves can be regarded as Lai's intention to dispel the "suspicion theory" in US political circles.

Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te (center) arrived in New York in transit through the United States on August 8, and was met by Ingrid Larson (right), executive director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and Hsiao Mei-qin (left), then Taiwan's representative to the United States. (Taiwan Presidential Office)

However, as the Taiwan general election campaign has been fought to this day, Lai Ching-de's burden has not been lightened, and the degree of trust in him in Taiwan society has become lower and lower. In other words, the "suspicion theory" is not only in the United States, but also in Taiwan. One of the reasons lies in the atmosphere of Washington's operation of "military reunification with Taiwan" in the past period of time, including all kinds of military pushes or destroys Taiwan, abandonment of Taiwan, etc., and politicians from all walks of life have gone to Taiwan to preach "asymmetric warfare" with small fights against big ones, and even the very authoritative "Economist" magazine has launched a cover story that "Taiwan is the most dangerous place on the surface", coupled with the Tsai Ing-wen government's announcement of the extension of military service, etc., the Taiwanese people really feel the threat and anxiety of "war" at the "physical" level. In the minds of Taiwanese voters, the 2024 election is a choice of war or peace, and it is by no means groundless.

Washington's "U.S.-China War" operation, as well as the Tsai Ing-wen government's "one-sided" pro-US line, and the United States' efforts to build Taiwan into a "military hedgehog" to contain China, Lai Qingde, as the candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, must "bear it in general". Although today's Taiwanese society still "runs and dances", the anxiety about the war in the Taiwan Strait has become an "unspeakable secret" in the depths of my heart. It can be seen that the increase in inquiries from immigration companies and the dissatisfaction of the families of male servants with one-year service with the ruling party are the epitome of "war anxiety in the Taiwan Strait".

Lai Qingde's "anti-China card" did not work

The DPP is well aware of this, so it is doing its best to prevent the showdown between war and peace in the 2024 election. One of the major indicators is that Tsai Ing-wen recently said in an exclusive interview with the New York Times that "it is impossible for Beijing to invade Taiwan on a large scale at present", which is obviously cooling down the "anxiety of war in the Taiwan Strait".

Tsai Ing-wen (second from left) recently gave an exclusive interview to the "DealBook Summit" held by the New York Times via video, saying that "now may not be the time for them (Beijing) to consider a large-scale invasion of Taiwan". The picture shows Tsai Ing-wen inspecting Taiwan's "Compulsory Service Recruit Training and Training" on November 11. (Taiwan Presidential Office)

The United States is also "helping", including Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss, and Thomas Christensen, three well-known "China experts" in the United States, recently jointly published a joint article in the journal Foreign Affairs entitled "Taiwan and the True Sources of Threats" (Taiwan and the True Sources of). Deterrence), which called on Lai Ching-te to consider freezing the DPP's "Taiwan independence platform" if he wins the election, so as to make the promise of maintaining the status quo more weighty and credible.

The problem is that Tsai Ing-wen's "U-turn" with the US think tank, the front-line candidate Lai Qingde not only did not keep up, but continued to sing the "China threat theory". On different election occasions, Lai Qingde still advocates military preparations, and uses the magic mirror as a metaphor for the CCP's "ambition" to intervene in Taiwan's general election, with a clear purpose of mobilizing Taiwanese voters' populist mentality of "resisting China and protecting Taiwan".

In fact, unlike the 2020 general election, which was in Hong Kong during the "anti-extradition amendment" turmoil, the DPP could eat Hong Kong's "human blood steamed buns", and the "anti-China card" in the 2024 general election has not yet been effective. Because of the general climate of the international situation, which has shown a trend of easing Sino-US relations, Joe Biden (Joe Biden) reiterated again in front of Xi Jinping on November 11 that he "does not support Taiwan independence", and this turning point is bound to affect the microclimate of cross-strait relations. In addition, Beijing has recently frequently issued statements through the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, re-criticizing "Taiwan independence means war". With the passage of time, Taiwan society has to begin to think about whether the risk of Taiwan rushing to the battlefield will indeed increase greatly if Lai Ching-te takes office.

On December 12, the Kuomintang Hou Youyi (left) and Zhao Shaokang (right) camps released the official image photo of "Hou Kangpei". (Courtesy of Hou Youyi's campaign office)

The poll numbers come from a subtle psychological change behind the scenes

Therefore, Lai Qingde's camp mainly played "Anti-China Card", but it became their weakness. When making a choice, Taiwanese voters will inevitably consider the possible "consequences" after Lai Ching-te is elected, so as to conduct a "risk assessment", and then produce a mentality of "not wanting Lai to come to power". If this psychology spreads into an effect, then it can be expected that it will be favorable to the election of Hou Youyi of the Kuomintang, and the people who originally supported the People's Party Ke Wenzhe, seeing that Ke Wenzhe's chances of being elected are not high, in order to prevent Lai Qingde from winning the election, it is quite likely that they will transfer their votes to Hou Youyi.

The Taiwan correspondent of "Hong Kong 01" visited Taiwan society and heard many supporters of the blue camp who originally hated Hou Youyi and were disappointed in the Kuomintang say that in order to prevent Lai Qingde from being elected, they decided to vote for Hou Youyi "with tears". I also heard that the original supporters of Ke Wenzhe, for fear that voting for Ke would be a waste of votes, and did not want to see Lai win, were thinking about "voting for the Kuomintang for the first time in their lives". As for some supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party, although they strongly support Lai Qingde, they have also privately revealed that if there are signs of war in the Taiwan Strait, they will send their children to foreign countries as soon as possible, and they do not want the next generation to become cannon fodder.

The above situation is a subtle psychological change that cannot be seen in the cold numbers of the polls, and it has become one of the decisive points in determining the outcome of Taiwan's general election. The undercurrent of "war anxiety in the Taiwan Strait" has spread, forming a collective psychology of "not wanting Lai Qingde to be elected", and further concentrating votes on the candidates who are most likely to prevent Lai from coming to power.

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