Well this is where we disagree, I don't see peasant power as the answer to why the CCP rose up over the KMT. I see a series of fortunate and unfortunate events, that lead be.
Mao would like to claim that he foresaw the importance of the peasants and it had been presented as such after the CCP victory over the KMT. But the fact is, when Mao started out in peking and shanghai, he didn't go to the villages but he went after the factory works as Marx had wrote. Hence that is why the massacre of Shanghai in 1927 was possible - because the CCP was in the cities and not the country side.
Mao started to get to the peasants after the long march where the wounded soldiers of the 8-1 army left behind in the villages can begin to educate and set up collectives in the villages where they were left; the monumental human effort was what that overcame the 99% illiteracy gap.
It is easy to say that Chaing ignored the peasants; but ask a honest question, what could he have done? break up the capitalist supporter's lands and wealth and distribute it to the peasants? He would lose china faster than he can convince peasants to join his cause.
And you do realize that China was 2X the economy of Japan when Japan invaded and most of it was from the coastal cities via trade and manufacturing? i.e. China's GDP in 1938 was larger than the GDP of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and was just a shad short of the USSR and Nazi Germany.
Nationalist China was by no means weak; with warlord armies as well trained as Czech or Polish armies. You may argue that Japan would not allow China to grow her wings, or maybe even suggest that the US will impeded China; but the fact is, Japan never got into the heart of China like Xian, Chongqing. It is only a question of time before Japan becomes broke from the war, they were burning 1 million yen a day in China
CCTV would like to portray China in a sorry state then, don't get me wrong, China was weak, but not that weak. China had a Masuer factory producing 500K zhongzhen (Masuer 98K) rifles and more than a million Hanyang 88; there were hundred of thousands of M1919/MG34/ZB30 machine guns and generally a lot of small arms. What was lacking was artillery and heavy vehicles.
China only had one mechanized tank division the 200th with ~400 tanks, But then again, these are the BT5 and T26 which outgunned whatever that the Japanese had in China back then; Also Japan had maybe around 2000 tanks and tankettes in china which are vulnerable to rifle and heavy machine gun fire.
Likewise, Japan never had full control of the air in China, the NRA aircraft strength never really fell below 200 fighters peaking at around 600; while the US flying corp operated around 900 fighters in China from 1942; against the several thousand Japanese fighters and bombers in China. i.e. China was weak, but not that weak and Japan was not that unstoppable juggernaut what current media like to make them out to be. Japan practically lost the ground war after the battle of Wuhan 1938. and we have 3X battle of Changsha which the Japanese could take the city in the last one.
Why talk about what if the japanese invasion did not happen? I did not say anything about what ifs and besides, this is not about the CCP vs KMT and we have to buy a side; this is about Chinese history and the fact is there are more detailed narratives than simply that the CCP received popular support and therefore succeeded. The CCP won doesn't mean that it was primarily due to the peasant support.
You do realize that my statement about feeding is from the KMT perspective? are they going to import food from the US to feed the peasants?
And no, the CCP did not have better strategic mobility than the KMT, both kind of sucked compared to Japan, US, Germany or whatever. The Chinese civil war was a grinding war and not a war of mobility.
What you say is ideological, the issue of military effectiveness is not a question solely of popular support - that is why the PLA compensate their soldiers quite well nowadays to retain and grow that force.
What the KMT lacked was a professional army with the training and pride that takes decades to build.
And again, it is academic to say the the KMT did not mobolize the city dwellers to their cause, but let me ask the question how? War is bad for business; especially for the capitalist unless they were arms dealers which by all means they would have fully supported the KMT.
Again, this is not a question on whose better. People's war is one form of war suited for a particular case; hence you will see that the PLA no longer uses it because it is ridiculously inefficient. Also, people's war does not automatically work - case in point - Japan and Germany also had total war with ideology, morale etc. Yet evidently they lost WW2.
Romantics aside, what is people's war? lets me put is this way, CCP's people's war worked against the KMT because of the soviet supplies, Vietnam's people's war against the USA worked because of Chinese supplies; Afghanistan's people's war worked against the USSR because of the US supplies. France's People's war with their love of Napoleon failed because they lacked external backing, Germany's people's war against the allies failed because they lacked external supplies; Japan's people's war failed because they lacked external supplies, North Korea's people's war failed because of the coalition overwhelming material advantage in the Korean war - even thou they had supplies from the USSR and China .
So thats back to the original question, is the "people" in people's war that important or is it other factors?