Friday, May 15, 2009

Unrepresentative Democracy - DPJ Style

Q: Where would an election of Okada Katsuya, the avatar of all that is clean and dull in Japanese politics, make a significant difference in the electability of Democratic Party of Japan candidates?

A: In the marginal constituencies--electoral districts which the DPJ lost in 2005 or where the Liberal Democratic Party has been on a longterm downward trend despite the efforts of the local LDP representative. The election of Okada over Hatoyama Yukio, who is perceived, fairly or not, to be the disgraced-in-the-eyes-of-the-media Ozawa Ichirō's dauphin, could claw back tens of thousands votes lost in the aftermath of the Ōkubo Toshinori arrest, and turn the district Democratic.

Q: So which districts will have zero (0) votes in Saturday's DPJ party president election?

A: Districts which do not have DPJ legislators representing them...which includes all the ones lost in 2005 and all the one which could conceivable go Democratic, given the right party leader.

Q: So districts where the identity of the leader of the DPJ could be significant are excluded from the process, whilst current--and one would assume solidly DPJ--districts where the identity of the party leader does not matter, get to choose?

A: Yes, that's right.

Q: But that's crazy! Giving a vote to party members who might not really care whilst denying it to those who probably putting the future of the party in the hands of persons with almost no personal stake in the outcome! Why did the party leadership council agree to this madness?

A: That would assume that someone other than Ozawa had thought through, step-by-step, the process of selecting a new leader ahead of time.

Q: Which is not something that Ozawa's challengers are likely to have done?

A: Unfortunately, no. And now they are reaping the consequences of their lack of planning for contingencies.


Jan Moren said...

..which all makes the point that he value of DPJ lies not in DPJ, but in it being the not-LDP. And the best thing it can do for the country, long term, is to destroy the LDP as we know it and then peacefully disintegrate, triggering a "realignment" into two-four different modern parties with some actual ideology other than "it's good to be the king".

They don't have to be competent. In fact, competent is bad. A competent DPJ risks cementing their position as the new LDP and they'll end up blocking much needed change rather than facilitating it by their self-destruction.

John Mock said...

Herr Moren has hit it directly on the head. After all this time watching Japanese politics, I have a hard time imagining functional political parties with actual platforms, which actually stand for something. As long as we are daydreaming, can I also imagine a political system which does not have one of the highest levels of corruption among industrialized countries? Maybe that's too much.