TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- Thousands gathered on a sunny November afternoon for what could have been mistaken for a carnival. Children played on inflatable gyms and giggled at clowns. Food stalls served up grilled sausages and scallion cakes. Taiwanese rapper Dwagie performed, with even older audience members participating in his call-and-response choruses.
The event in Taichung was, in fact, a campaign rally for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Few could have predicted such a celebratory mood months earlier, when she had looked unlikely to even survive her party's primary.