Swayed by hard-linersGyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung voiced criticism toward die-hard supporters of President Moon Jae-in for lashing five first-term lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) who apologized for the Cho Kuk scandal and demanded party reform. “If you ask how many die-hard supporters are among 800,000 active members of the DP and 3 million general members, (I heard) 1,000 should labeled as unwanted callers,” Lee said.
Lee is the frontrunner among presidential aspirants from the DP in polls. But he often comes under attack by Moon loyalists for his solo ways. Yet, his comments should be a wake-up call to DP lawmakers who are oblivious to public sentiment even after their crushing defeat in the April 7 by-elections.
Moon aficionados became the party mainstream after online party subscription was adopted in 2015. Of 800,000 registered members, 3,000 to 30,000 are believed to be his die-hard supporters. After five novice lawmakers issued a critical statement for the loss of the by-elections, they were lambasted as betrayers for their “junk-like statement full of distortion and misrepresentation” on the member community site. Their response was poles apart from public sentiment. Moon loyalists indeed thought entirely differently from the general public. In a poll on members, 74.1 percent approved the establishment of satellite parties ahead of the April 15 parliamentary elections last year. Nearly 90 percent backed the idea of changing the party constitution to field candidates in the mayoral by-elections in Seoul and Busan although they have become vacant by wrongdoings of their party members. Party members and the rest of the population live in a different world.
Still, the DP relies on the Moon faction. Kim Young-min bidding for a party executive post said that as hawkish members express their opinions aggressively, they must be persuaded first before we can persuade the people.” A figure running for the chairmanship of the DP still depends on the Moon loyalists instead of turning to the broader population.
Six neutral lawmakers from the party proposed some checks on excessive activities by some members. Gov. Lee said that expressing opinions in a violent and extraordinary manner is not right. A slanderous online campaign can be ruinous on politics and society. Politicians must not waver to online troops and instead must stay connected with the general public. Critical and sane voices from some member of the DP should be respected.