Moon Jae-in sweeps DUP primaries, no one cares

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.

  • DLBarch

    So according this this poll, PGH enjoys a 4+ percentage lead over ACS, with undecideds at about 7 percent:

    Is there any polling that shows MJI taking away more votes from PGH than ACS so as to make ACS the putative favorite in a three candidate race?

    Also, I don’t know enough about the importance of the party machines in voter turn-out, but my political instincts tell me that were ACS to run as an independent, he would (1) not win, (2) prove a spoiler for the anti-PGH vote, and (3) undercut his credibility in any political future he might have.

    As much as I personally like Sohn, I think the DUP and ACS need to rally around MJI pronto to quickly change the dynamics of this campaign.


  • jkitchstk

    “Problem is — no one seems to care”

    Because they are boring without ideologies.

  • CactusMcHarris

    If a Korean politician / dictator will fly with the haks, well, that would impress the mien out of me….

  • Yu Bum Suk

    #1, I think Ahn’s ploy is to hold out as long as possible and then endorse Park’s main opponent.

  • slim

    DLB – “but my political instincts tell me that were ACS to run as an independent, he would (1) not win, (2) prove a spoiler for the anti-PGH vote, and (3) undercut his credibility in any political future he might have.”

    That’s my feeling at the moment as well. I experienced an earlier version of this in 1987, when the “two Kims” suicidally battled it out and helped elect Roh Tae-woo. I’m hoping the egos and animosity are a bit smaller now than 25 years ago.

  • DLBarch


    You and I are showing our age…I first stepped off the boat at Busan from Shimonoseki as a Koreanist newbie in August 1987, just as that watershed election year was gaining steam. The splitting of the opposition ticket that year was heart-breaking to watch.

    In hindsight, one could argue that Roh Tae-Woo was the right transitional president for the time, but if an Ahn-Moon opposition split this year hands PGH the Blue House (does anyone still call it that?) then a pox on both their houses.

    Worse, if Ahn does run as an independent and wind up splitting the opposition vote, his political career — and reputation — is toast.



  • RolyPoly

    I wrote a couple of years ago, before Ahn appeared in the political scene, that Moon JaeIn would be the next president of Korea.

    I still think he is the next president of Korea because
    1) Ahn may not run. He may chicken out just like Ross Perot.
    2) Ahn may let Moon run for presidency while he promises to take a post in new administration (may be the prime minister).
    3) Even if Ahn runs, the final result may be three-way tie. Then, Ahn may tell his supporters to vote for Moon.

  • RolyPoly

    If Sim SooBong speaks before the election, PGH would be gone.

    She can tell what happened in the last ten minutes of Park’s life. She may drop a bomb. Even PGH may not know what happened and why Kim JaeGye killed Park.

  • RolyPoly

    The biggest political mystery in the US is “who killed Kennedy?”

    In Korea, it is “Why Kim JaeKyu killed his boss, Park ChungHee?”

    For long time, the lie that Kim wanted to kill Cha GeeChul, the beloved lieutenant of Park and Park got in the way. And, it was rumored that Kim said “how can you listen to the worm (Cha)?” as he pulled the trigger.

    However, this lie which has been circulated by Park’s people has been debunked by the women present at the time of the death.

    Another rumor is that Kim has been manipulated by US CIA. Now this is another lie. CIA men are stupid and totally uninterested when they come to Korea. They just want to do their time and get re-assigned. No need to learn the language and no need to interact with locals. Korea is not interesting to them.

    So, why? What was Kim trying to accomplish? Democracy? When he knew that he would die?

    This is truly a mystery. I lean toward yet-unknown possibility.

    A woman? Very possible. After all, what makes a man go berserk, other than a woman?