Sunday, November 28

Three reasons why Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party are losing

[한겨레S] Sung Han-yong’s political behind-the-scenes
Lee Jae-myung in crisis and the Democratic Party
Limitations of the Democratic Party in Past Elections
Election winning streak since 2017, support base relaxed
Real Estate Failure, Homeland Situation, and Government Misfortune
Difficult to break through with ‘political engineering’, more serious

Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung greets party officials ahead of the departure of the Mata Bus (Minsaeng Bus) at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul on the morning of the 12th. Joint photo.

How are you feeling these days? Does watching political news make you smile? You are likely to be a highly involved political party with a conservative and oppositional orientation. Are you feeling depressed these days? Are you worried about your country when you look at the political news? You may be a member of the ruling party, high-involvement in politics, or a non-partisan. Living in a democratic country cannot be detached from politics and elections. Elections are sacred occasions in which we entrust our sovereignty to elected officials, such as members of the National Assembly or the President. But elections that should be happy make us unhappy. It’s because we can’t stand it when ‘our side’ loses. It seems like something big is going to happen to me right now. Even if it isn’t.

The Democratic Party and Candidate Lee Who Lost Laughter

The Democratic Party’s presidential nomination convention was held on October 10. On October 3, a week ago, Yoo Dong-gyu, the former head of the planning division of Seongnam Urban Development Corporation, was arrested. Due to the controversy over the majority of the votes, Lee Nak-yeon’s declaration of victory was delayed a few days. Candidate Lee Jae-myung, who was caught up in the controversy over the Daejang-dong allegation and contested election, has rather fallen. The word ‘reverse convention effect’ has emerged, which is not even in the dictionary. The National Power of Peoples Presidential Candidates National Convention was held on November 5th. In a poll that reflected public sentiment, Rep. Hong Jun-pyo won by 10 percentage points. Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol, who had a significant lead in the voting for responsible party members, was elected as the presidential candidate. During the national convention, the results of opinion polls that overrepresented the opposition’s supporters poured in. As the ‘convention effect’ and the ‘bandwagon effect’ overlapped, the support of candidate Yoon Seok-yeol soared. The smiles on the faces of Candidate Jae-myung Lee and the Democratic Party lawmakers have recently disappeared. Candidate Seok-yeol Yoon and People’s Strength lawmakers say that these days, even if you don’t eat, you’re full. Is next year’s election over like this? Could it be? There is support for presidential candidates in the National Indicators Survey released on November 18th. Seok-Yeol Yoon (36%), Jae-Myung Lee (35%), Cheol-Soo Ahn (5%), and Sang-Jung Shim (4%) were in that order. A week ago, Seok-Yeol Yoon (39%), Jae-Myung Lee (32%), Cheol-Soo Ahn (5%), and Sang-Jung Shim (5%) were 5%. The gap between Yoon Seok-yeol and Lee Jae-myung has sharply narrowed from 7 percentage points to 1 percentage point, which is within the margin of error.

The approval ratings for the Gallup Korea presidential candidate announced on November 19 were 42% Yoon Seok-yeol, 31% Lee Jae-myung, 7% Ahn Cheol-soo, and 5% Shim Sang-jung. In a Gallup Korea poll a month ago, Lee Jae-myung was 34%, Yoon Seok-yeol 31%, Ahn Cheol-soo 9%, and Shim Sang-jeong 7%. For more information about the two polls, please visit the website of the National Election Opinion Survey Deliberation Committee.

As can be seen from the national index survey and the case of Gallup Korea, the figures of a fairly large poll seem to be running wild like this. We will continue to look at the trend of the polls, but it is reasonable to forecast that it is difficult to know exactly who will win the next election in the future. But why is the expression on the faces of Candidate Jae-myung Lee and the Democratic Party lawmakers so bad? Maybe it’s because of the anxiety about losing the next year’s election. What is the reality of anxiety? There is a flow of public opinion that is not captured by opinion polls. It can be more serious because it’s hard to see.

Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung enters the SBS Prism Tower in Mapo-gu, Seoul to attend the 'SBS D Forum' on the morning of the 18th.  yunhap news

Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung enters the SBS Prism Tower in Mapo-gu, Seoul to attend the ‘SBS D Forum’ on the morning of the 18th. yunhap news

It is difficult to break through with political engineering alone

We focused on the ‘real reason’ behind Candidate Jae-myung Lee and the Democratic Party of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who are bright in the bottom line. It could be roughly divided into three categories. First, it is a fundamental limitation of the Democratic Party. Many people think that the Democratic Party of Korea is now Korea’s mainstream established power. But if you look at the history of past presidential elections, that’s not the case. The core supporters of the Democratic Party are reform-progressive voters in their 40s from Honam and Jaya, who supported President Kim Dae-jung, and from the metropolitan area and Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongnam, who supported Presidents Roh Moo-hyun and Moon Jae-in. However, they cannot win the national election on their own. The conditions of alliances with other factions or the self-destruction of rival conservative establishments were always necessary. In 1997, Kim Dae-jung, a candidate for the New Politics National Assembly, formed a regional and ideological alliance with Kim Jong-pil, president of the Liberal Democratic Party of the Yushin parish. Candidate Lee In-je, who lost the ruling party primary, ran for office and split the votes from the conservative opposition. Even so, they only won by 1.53 percentage points. In 2002, the Millennium Democratic Party candidate Roh Moo-hyun united with Chung Mong-joon, the representative of National Unity 21, and won by 2.33 percentage points. In 2012, candidate Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party was able to pursue candidate Park Geun-hye because he unified with candidate Ahn Cheol-soo. They lost by 3.53 percentage points. It would have been a bigger loss without the unification. The victory of the Uri Party in the 2004 general election, the victory of the Democratic Party of Korea in the 2016 general election, and the victory of Moon Jae-in in the 2017 presidential election were all thanks to ‘guest mistakes’. In the end, the ‘2022 presidential election victory theory’ that the Democratic people believed in their hearts was an unrealistic illusion. The local elections held during the 2018 North Korea-US summit and the sweeping victory in the 21st general election held in the midst of the Corona crisis in 2020 further fueled this illusion. During the 2002 World Cup, the Korean national soccer team, led by coach Hiddink, advanced to the semi-finals one after another, beating Portugal, Italy and Spain, the world’s best. Every match was actually a miracle. Was our soccer skill really ranked 4th in the world? It’s a nonsensical thing to say. The same is true of the Democratic Party’s winning streak in the national elections since 2016. Maybe the 4·7 Seoul mayor by-election results could be the real power of the Democratic Party. Second, support layer relaxation. There is a saying called Haewon (解寃). It means dispelling grudges. The regional discrimination that Honam suffered was to some extent relieved by the election of President Kim Dae-jung in 1997. The death of President Roh Moo-hyun in 2009 was relieved to some extent with the election of President Moon Jae-in in 2017 and the arrest of Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye following the investigation into corruption. On the other hand, the resentment of the zealous supporters of President Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye and the conservative establishment has piled up one after another. How blinded to revenge would they have chosen the Prosecutor General of the Moon Jae-in government, which sent Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye to prison, as their presidential candidate? Does history repeat itself? In the 2007 presidential election, Lee Myung-bak and Chung Dong-young competed. The supporters of the Democratic Party, hungry for ’10-year rule’, did not go to the polls. Voter turnout fell to an all-time low of 63.0%. The difference between the two candidates was a whopping 22.53 percentage points. The tragedy of President Roh Moo-hyun’s death in 2009 actually started here. More than 10 years have passed. Democrats seem to be forgetting about it again then. Third, it is the Moon Jae-in government’s fault. Elections are a process of delegating power to politicians and political parties, but also a process of holding them accountable. It is natural for people to be judged if they do wrong in politics. After a sweeping victory in the 2018 local elections, President Moon Jae-in told his staff at a meeting of the chief and aides of the Blue House, “On the one hand, the high support we received is frightening to the point of chilling our backs.” I asked for three things. Real estate policy failures have ruined their competence. Morality has collapsed due to the situation of the Minister of Justice, etc. If two of the three stones supporting the pot collapse, it will be difficult to cook rice in the pot. The three challenges faced by Candidate Jae-myung Lee and the Democratic Party are so essential that they cannot be overcome by political engineering or election technology. That is why the current crisis is so serious.

Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung and his wife Kim Hye-kyung watch the 4th game of the Korean Series between KT Wiz and Doosan Bears in the '2021 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League' held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the afternoon of the 18th.  Joint photo.

Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung and his wife Kim Hye-kyung watch the 4th game of the Korean Series between KT Wiz and Doosan Bears in the ‘2021 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the afternoon of the 18th. Joint photo.

Shaking regional alliances and generational alliances

In any case, the regional alliances and generational alliances that the Kim Dae-jung-Roh Moo-hyun-Moon Jae-in governments have hard-earned are shaking due to the fundamental limitations of the Democratic Party, the relaxation of supporters, and the reality of the Moon Jae-in administration. Chungcheong-do and Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongnam favor Candidate Yoon Seok-yeol rather than Lee Jae-myung. 2030 voters are not giving their hearts to Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party. Analyzing the cause of the crisis between Candidate Jae-myung Lee and the Democratic Party and predicting that candidate Yoon Seok-yeol and the power of the people will win the next presidential election are completely different. Elections are won or lost by last-minute passion and fashion. It is in the realm of politics where competency (virtu) and luck (fortuna) intersect and create all kinds of harmony. The 1997, 2002 and 2012 presidential elections were not known until the day before the election. The same was true for the 1996, 2000, 2012, 2016 and 2020 general elections. This is ‘Dynamic Korea’. How will candidate Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party overcome this crisis? Senior Correspondent, Political Department [email protected]

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