[THE FOUNTAIN] Choose the Rabbits to Capture

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[THE FOUNTAIN] Choose the Rabbits to Capture

Lee Yong-jack, who contributed greatly to Kim Dae-jung's victory in the presidential election in 1997, recently published "Presidential Election Strategy Report," and the defeated Grand National Party paid attention to the book. After reading the book, a member of the GNP said, "It is true that our strategy had many unprepared points. I have learned an important lesson."

In this book, Mr. Lee illustrated his theory of house rabbits and wild rabbits, giving an example that in 1996 the U.S. Democratic candidate, Bill Clinton, won the presidential election by laying house rabbits (progressive votes) aside and chasing wild rabbits (conservative votes). He explained that Mr. Clinton employed a strategy of intentionally avoiding issues of interest to homosexual voters, in order to win the hearts of moderates and conservatives, the majority voters. "We should chase the wild rabbits. Although we may lose some of our house rabbits, we should move our target to win the votes of the moderates," Mr. Lee advised Mr. Kim.

The opposition GNP leader, Lee Hoi-chang, who was defeated by 390,000 votes in the1997 presidential election, recently met with Japanese correspondents in Korea and raised the theory of the mainstream. Mr. Lee identified the mainstream of our society as the rational and sensible conservative group taking the middle-of-the-road course. He regretted that "The mainstream, who believed that it was necessary to change the administration, supported President Kim Dae-jung in the election. I think I failed in the last presidential election because I could not understand the intent of the mainstream." Of course, he did not forget to stress his expectation that "Next time, the mainstream will judge the current administration and lead in forming a new administration."

A Korea University professor, Hahm Sung-deuk, interpreted the mainstream described by Mr. Lee as an adoption of median vote theory. It is a theory often favored by Dick Morris, former President Clinton's chief election strategist, and shares some common points with the theory of rabbits by Lee Yong-jack. Median vote theory explains that no candidate can win a presidential election by capturing the votes of only one group, either the progressives or the conservatives. It is important to secure the votes supporting one's own camp and then start to hunt the median votes and votes belonging to the rival.

Unfortunately, it is problematic that election in Korea is not determined by winning votes belonging to the progressive or the conservative camps, but by local favoritism which overshadows differences in rabbits, policies or ideologies. Starting at the next election, we must change ourselves.

by Noh Jae-hyun

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