How Rick Santorum Ended Up Getting 8% in Puerto Rico

In my previous post, I wrote that:

In Hawaii, white and Asian Mormons in Laie ended up giving 93% of their vote to Mitt Romney. Put any group under a particular set of (usually adversarial) circumstances, and it will end up giving 90+% support to a certain side in an election. Hawaii’s Republican caucus is a perfect example of this.

Another example of this maxim cropped up a few days ago, when Puerto Rico voted in the 2012 Republican Primary. The territory ended up giving 83% of the vote to Republican Mitt Romney. This is a higher figure than Romney’s percentage in any other state which has so far voted.

Most political observers will connect Puerto Rico’s strong pro-Romney vote to a recent Rick Santorum interview. In this interview Santorum argued that Puerto Rico needed to make English its official language before becoming a state.

Santorum’s statements were treated negatively in the mainland press. However, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that Puerto Ricans themselves were extremely upset about Santorum’s views – or that they even knew about Santorum’s comments in the first place. I’ve searched out four Puerto Rican newspaper articles (here, here, here, and here) about Santorum’s comments. Three are pretty short and perfunctory; one is longer and more negative. Does this mean that the average Puerto Rican was aware of and upset by Santorum’s comments?

And just how important was the primary to the average Puerto Rican? Of course, America’s primaries have less to do with Puerto Ricans than people on the mainland. But just how much less so? To find the answer, we have to look for hints. The Puerto Rican primary results did make the reel of top news stories in Puerto Rican newspapers.

There is also turn-out. In the 2008 Democratic primary, turn-out was above that of Connecticut but below that of Oregon and Oklahoma. This matches the relative population of these respective states. In the 2012 Republican primary, however, the number of Puerto Ricans who voted was less than half the number of Oklahomans. So it seems that the 2012 Republican Primary was far less important to Puerto Rico than the 2012 Democratic Primary.

It’s a difficult question how Puerto Rico would have voted without Santorum’s statements. Puerto Rico is very different from the American mainland; therefore it’s not easy to predict its political behavior.

In general, Puerto Rico seems to go for the more well-known, establishment candidate. And upstart Santorum is a bad cultural fit for Puerto Rico. It’s pretty hard to see Santorum winning Puerto Rico even without his English comments.

Nevertheless, Santorum ended up getting 8% in Puerto Rico. That’s a very, very low number. In 2008, despite his weakness amongst Hispanics, Barack Obama still ended up getting 31.2% of the Puerto Rican vote. It’s not unreasonable to think that Santorum would have done similar if he’d not argued that Puerto Rico make English its official language to gain statehood. At least he probably would have broken into double-digits.

All in all, as stated before, place any group under the right adversarial circumstances, and it will vote very strongly for one side and against another. Rick Santorum, with his English comments, put Puerto Ricans in a very adversarial circumstance. A few days later Puerto Rico gave his opponent ten times the number of votes Santorum won.



A Fascinating Study on Mexican Immigrants Who Can’t Speak Spanish

By: inoljt,

Picture a Mexican immigrant, and several images generally come to mind. The average American might imagine tacos and his or her gardener, for instance. To this, of course, would be added the ubiquitous sound of Spanish. Almost every American links Hispanics and the Spanish language together. There is reason for this; after all, most Hispanics do have origins from countries which are Spanish-speaking. With regards to Mexico, Spanish is indeed the national language. It would not be, and is not, unreasonable to assume that the typical Mexican immigrant speaks Spanish.

What happens, however, when those Mexican immigrants can’t speak Spanish?

The result is the topic of a fascinating study titled “Indigenous Mexicans in California Agriculture.” This study was “a partnership between a group of farm labor researchers and the Indigenous Program of California Rural Legal Assistance.” It is a fascinating and informative read, and I highly recommend it for anybody curious.

The Mexicans that the study examines are indigenous Mexicans – the descendants of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations conquered by the Spanish. Much like Native Americans, “Native Mexicans”  suffered enormously under their European overlords. Unlike the Native Americans in the United States, however, the indigenous peoples of Mexico were too powerful and numerous to be wiped out altogether. More than ten million indigenous Mexicans still reside in the country.

Like African-Americans in the United States, these people have suffered tremendous discrimination ever since the Spanish conquest. They traditionally have occupied – and continue to occupy – the lowest rung of Mexico’s social ladder. They are poorer, often much poorer, than the typical Mexican. Many reside in remote villages with terrible road connections. Many also speak only their indigenous languages and have trouble speaking Spanish, the national language of Mexico.

In recent years, many indigenous Mexicans have begun immigrating to the United States to work in agriculture, especially in California’s Central Valley. These are the people whom the study examines, and there are several very interesting notes in the study.

Firstly, the unfamiliarity of some indigenous Mexican-American immigrants with speaking Spanish (let alone English) greatly hurts them. It is somewhat arresting for a person to imagine Mexican immigrants unable to speak Spanish, which is why the study is all the more fascinating. These lead to some very remarkable situations. As the study states,

Some complained of outright discrimination due to the inability to speak Spanish well.  One 60-year-old Triqui-speaking woman in Greenfield complained that the foreman waved her off pretending like he didn’t understand her when she complained in broken Spanish that he was undercounting her pounds picked.   Another 54-year–old Triqui in Santa Rosa complained that other workers and foremen made fun of his Spanish language skills humiliating him in front of other workers.

Due to their weakness on Spanish, some medical clinics in Central Valley have started to hire interpreters with knowledge of indigenous languages (such as Mixteco). This is obviously complicated by the fact that there are multiple indigenous languages. The task is also made difficult because certain medical concepts simply don’t exist in the native language. The study furthers describes this problem:

In Oxnard, one highly accomplished interpreter who is trilingual in English, Spanish and her native Mixteco explained that there no words in Mixteco for numerous medical conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, anemia and diabetes. As for women’s health, there are often no terms for certain body parts, particularly those relating to the reproductive system, or for procedures such as, for example, a cervical examination.

This is another quite remarkable situation that the study uncovers.

All in all, it is clear that these immigrants face a tremendous challenge. Indigenous Mexicans are on the bottom of the social rung in Mexico. Just imagine their social position in America – a country much richer and more powerful than Mexico. They are the lowest of the low here.

And yet, for all that, it is clear that indigenous Mexican immigrants are still much better off in America than in Mexico. The study spends much time talking about the poor conditions these immigrants labor in. For instance, almost none own houses; most rent extremely crowded, subdivided places. Here is one such picture of an overcrowded, ill-maintained residency:

By American standards, this is obviously a very hard-off residence. The immigrants who occupy it are obviously poor. The image is, indeed, meant to convey shock about the poverty of indigenous Mexican immigrants to respectable middle-class America.

Yet compare these conditions to the ones found in Mexico:

By these standards, the “poverty-stricken” immigrant in America is living in paradise. America is just so much richer that even the poorest of the poor do much better than poor Mexicans. That is, of course, why these indigenous Mexicans are immigrating to the United States. It would take something on the magnitude of the Berlin Wall to overwhelm that enormous incentive.



Why It’s Strange That Everybody in the United States Speaks English

By: Inoljt,

Imagine you’re a tourist planning on visiting India. Determined not to be seen as culturally ignorant, you’ve decided to learn Hindi, the official language. As the plane lands in Bangladore, you are confident that you can speak in the native language.

Except when you get out onto the street, the people aren’t speaking Hindi. They’re talking in a dialect of Kannada, and you can’t understand them.

Eventually, after several painstaking months, you learn Kannada as spoken in Bangladore. Now you’re really confident that you’ve got this thing down; you know both Hindi and a very local dialect. You fly to Mumbai.

Except in Mumbai the people on the street don’t speak Kannada, Hindi, or English. They speak Marathi. And a fair share of the elite speak English.

Might as well have stayed with English.

Or imagine you’re visiting China. Once again, as a culturally competent individual you’ve mastered Mandarin, and blast into Shanghai completely prepared.

In Shanghai, however, it turns out that the local language is Shanghainese. You didn’t even know that existed, but when local residents talk to each other you don’t understand any of it.

A local friend you’ve made later, born and bred in Shanghai, confides to you that he feels uncomfortable going to other provinces. In Guangdong locals speak in Cantonese; in Sichuan they speak in Sichuanese; in Tibet they speak in Tibetan; he can’t understand any of it. True, locals can switch to standard Mandarin when talking with non-locals, but he still feels like a foreigner outside Shanghai.

The next day you board a plane back to the United States, where everybody understands and speaks the same exact language. Every word that a person says in Seattle can be comprehended by a person in Houston; every word that a person says in Houston can be comprehended by a New Yorker. With the exception of the South and a few inner-city ghettos, there is even no difference in accent.

This achievement is frequently understated. Many Americans simply assume that things are like this in other countries – everybody in the Middle East speaks Arabic (true, but the regional dialects are mutually incomprehensible), everybody in Nigeria speaks “Nigerian” (definitely not true).

In truth, as the examples of China and India show, it is actually quite strange to think that in a continent-stretching nation with hundreds of millions (or billions) of people, it would be the case that the language would be so uniform. Few countries can claim to have done this. Brazil is one. Russia is another – but remember that Russia is the descendant of the Soviet Union, which tried and failed to impose a Russian common language upon the tens of millions of its non-Russian citizens.

Some conservatives complain that nowadays, there are too many Mexicans who don’t know English. Yet of the Hispanic immigrants who enter the United States, only 6% of their grandchildren will speak Spanish at home.

The extent to which the United States has succeeded in establishing a common language, across a continent and through three hundred million people, remains an amazing, if much-ignored, accomplishment.



Exposed by the "Rockets Red Glare"

I am sick to death of the forwarded ignorance of so many Americans!

       "I am sorry but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough. No where did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, French, or any other language because of immigration. It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written. The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close. Sorry if this offends anyone but this is MY COUNTRY -

       IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP ---- please pass this along~

   I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

        Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone-----YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !!!!

       Will we still be the Country of choice and still be America if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that came to live in America because it is the Country of Choice??????

       Think about it!


       It is Time for America to Speak up If you agree -- pass

       this along; if you don't agree -- delete it."

There's more...

PA-3 Really Good News for GOP Rep. English

Targeted GOP Rep. English of PA-3 has seen his 2008 reelection prospects soar recently due to the decision by liberal candidate Steve Porter to split the anti-GOP, anti-English vote by launching an Independent campaign.  If he had any thoughts of resigning rather than face a tough race, Porter's actions have changed that calculus in English's favor.  Liberal / Blue/ progressive bloggers are lining up to help Porter with his three-way race.  Porter will be opposed by the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee, Gov. Rendell, and the local and state Democratic Party organizations, who must and will support the official Democratic Party nominee in the 3-way race. The official party nominee will be on the sample ballots and in the Combined Campaign mailings and phone calls.  Porter has as much chance to win in PA-3 as Ralph Nader did to carry Florida in 2000, when Nader split the anti-GOP, anti-Bush vote and got 97,488 votes and Gore "lost" by 537 votes statewide.  

There's more...


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