This article analyses trends in election campaigning in Taiwan with particular reference to the landmark 2000 presidential election, when the Kuomintang's 50-year monopoly on power finally ended. It examines the growing professionalism in election campaigning that stands alongside, and is shaped by, the systemic and institutional features of Taiwan's electoral landscape, such as the path dependency of the parties and the electoral system used. The article challenges us to reconsider the notion of how identity is shaped and communicated; globalisation has given birth to a spurious catch-all notion of ‘Americani sation’ that is invoked by many modern election observers. It is said to describe a trend towards a global convergence of electoral practices based on the adoption of election campaign techniques developed in the United States. The discourse on Americanisation resonates with the pejorative vocabulary more associated with cultural imperialism, suggesting the displacement of the indigenous by the foreign. The article is a warning against using this discourse too liberally. The flows of influence and information are in fact multi-directional, with the United States absorbing cultural effects as well as supplying them. Newly democratising systems have not undergone a blanket Americanisation because, as the Taiwan example clearly demonstrates, traditional methods of voter mobilisation remain important; the foreign coexists with the indigenous.