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Exclude the party

Feb 22,2020
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YI JUNG-JAE
The author is a columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.

This piece borrows its title from a column by Korea University Professor Lim Mi-ri, who bluntly told voters to “exclude the Democratic Party” in the upcoming April legislative elections. It lifts some ideas from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s opinion piece entitled “Paging Michael Bloomberg.” That column started by warning American voters that they were facing a “national emergency” for having a president “so utterly lacking in personal integrity, so able to lie and abuse his powers with such impunity and so blindly backed by an amoral party, an unscrupulous attorney general and a media-fund-raising juggernaut.” Friedman urged voters to vote for “an extraordinary Democratic machine” to defeat Trump before he does lasting damage to America.

Friedman was sure Russia and China will be “voting” for Trump in 2020 because he “keeps America in turmoil and unable to focus on building the infrastructure we need to dominate the 21st century the way we did the 20th. Beijing and Moscow know that Trump is so disliked by America’s allies that he can never galvanize a global coalition against China or Russia.” Lastly, he claimed Russia and China know that Trump is “utterly transactional and will never challenge them on human rights abuses.”
Friedman’s conclusion: “Trump is their chump, and they will not let him go.”

I can replace Trump with President Moon Jae-in, and it fits perfectly when Moscow is replaced by Pyongyang. Moon will keep South Korea in turmoil and unable to focus on building the strength to dominate the 21st century. Moon, distrusted by key allies, won’t be able to muster a necessary coalition to rein in China or North Korea. They know that the kowtowing Moon will never raise the issue of their human rights abuses. They will never let him go.

If Trump is re-elected, that would be a “revolution,” Friedman argued. “And it will do permanent damage to the institutions and norms that have sustained this country since its founding.”

Likewise, if the ruling Democratic Party wins the April 15 elections, all that made South Korea great will be damaged. The norms and values South Korea has sustained since democracy was restored will be swept away. The new investigation agency for public employees will never aim at the president. It will go after Yoon Seok-youl, prosecutor general, for daring to investigate and indict the key aides of the president. The investigation of the Blue House meddling in the Ulsan mayoral election will be cast away. Cho Kuk will be resurrected as a fallen defender of justice. Anyone who dares stand against him will be framed as being evil and antidemocratic. A pro-labor policy that can make employers and entrepreneurs potential criminals will continue. The economy will be muddled in stagnation. Jobs will stay scarce, and unemployment will worsen. Companies will continue to flee the country. The lower classes will suffer more in poverty. But people will be told that the economy is “moving in the right direction.”

The constitution may be rewritten. The ruling party has changed the election law through an ingenious formula. Since it had fixed the election law dubbed to be more difficult to touch than the constitution, it will easily push ahead with constitutional amendment.

Moreover, if the ruling front gains more power through the upcoming elections, we may continue to see the diehard loyalists of Moon Jae-in in full gear. Those supporters have been bombarding me with malicious messages and emails for criticizing the government over the last three years. They would be licensed to go ahead with attacks on anyone on the opposing side if Moon gains more power. I pray I won’t see that day.