If a candidate wins a series of primaries and no one cares, does the candidate make a sound? In the Democratic United Party’s primaries that went from province to province, Moon Jae-in went 8-for-8, sweeping every single primary election so far. Most recently, Moon won 48.5% of the votes in Gwangju/Jeollanam-do primaries — a critical prerequisite for any aspiring Progressive presidential candidate in Korea. In the overall votes, Moon is leading Sohn Hak-gyu, 46.8% to 25.9%.
At the this point, the question is not whether Moon will win, but whether Moon will win the majority of the votes. If he does, he becomes the outright nominee of the DUP. If he does not, there will be another round of final votes between Moon and the next runner-up (likely Sohn) to produce the candidate.
Problem is — no one seems to care about the DUP primaries. Originally, DUP’s idea was to attract the voters’ attention to the primary process, creating a drama that raises the profile of its ultimate candidate, who would then go on to win the general election. (This is exactly how Roh Moo-hyun pulled out his unlikely victory.) But so far, that blueprint is not happening. Instead of creating a drama, DUP primaries could only create the tired soap opera of Sohn accusing Moon of voting irregularities. Even Moon’s most significant victory to date (i.e. from Gwangju) has been completely buried by the news of NFP press officer threatening Ahn Cheol-soo with allegations of bribery and adultery. With the speculation that Ahn might run as an independent instead of joining/allying with the DUP, DUP’s room to maneuver is getting smaller and smaller.