Is Puerto Rico winner take all?

Is Puerto Rico winner take all?

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Will Obama supporters accept Puerto Rico's votes in popular vote count?

Good evening, everybody!

I have been thinking, as always, about how this primary will end and I thought I'd throw something out there (in good faith) to start a discussion.  I've been thinking a great deal about an interesting thing Jerome said within the last few days, when he suggested that as many as two million people may vote in the last contest, Puerto Rico.

I want to say, again, this post is in absolute good faith and honestly meant to provoke a meaningful discussion.  I know that many Obama supporters will be inclined to immediately dismiss any chance of Clinton winning the popular vote or in the number of pledged delegates.  That belief is very well founded in fact, scientific measurements, and in a basic gut feeling (when considering the narrative playing out in the media), I admit; although, I basically disagree with just how absolute and final the outcome is.   If you are one of those Obama supporters who is without any shred of doubt that your man will be our man or a Clinton supporter who has given up hope, I simply ask that you suspend your disbelief, hear me out, and (please) respond.  

In light of recent polling showing Hillary Clinton running far ahead of Obama in PA, KY, and WV, the likelihood of Puerto Rico playing a fascinating, if not decisive, role in this year's Democratic primary is becoming...well, more likely.   If Hillary performs as well as the polls suggest in those contests, she could easily cut Obama's lead in the popular vote (at least) in half.  I would go so far as to say she could eliminate his lead in the popular vote in the upcoming contests, but Indiana could be a wash (or Obama win) and Obama is looking at a blow out in Oregon and North Carolina (however, many find it hard to believe he will come away with a double-digit lead from North Cakalacky).  
However, big wins in PA, WV, and KY (and many expect Montana), would ensure Clinton seriously cuts into Obama's popular vote (and, of course, delegate) count.  I say, (at least) it will be cut in half.

So, then it comes down to Puerto Rico.  If Jerome is right and two million Puerto Ricans actually come out and vote, the race could be completely thrown into uncertainty (as never before).  Hillary Clinton has proven that she is a true rock star among Hispanics in general.  If that trend holds in our colony/state, she's on the road to around a sixty-percent victory.  That margin would mean Hillary walks away with 400,000 more votes that Obama, from that contest alone.  With a 58% victory in PA (with a modestly-projected turnout of 60%), she could walk away with about the same number, 400,000 more votes than Obama.  Those two states together (again, following the chain of events I am throwing out there), could very well eliminate Obama's lead in the popular vote (the tally of which varies depending on the source, but is usually between 700 and 800,000).   It is entirely possible, as well, that she walks away with a lead in the pledged delegates.  I find that hard to even write in hypotheticals; however, it is indeed a possibility.  

Of course, as many of you will have noticed already, this entirely excludes MI and FL.  

Again, I just want to remind you all that I'm not asking you to dispute this scenario of events.  Clinton could lose every remaining state or she could destroy Obama in every remaining state.  It doesn't matter what the turnout is in PA or by how much someone wins Indiana or Oregon.  

My question to anyone reading his diary is:  will a resounding win in Puerto Rico for Hillary Clinton, a victory that results in her surpassing Obama's popular vote and (perhaps) delegate count, be seen as legitimate?

If that happens, of course, if she wins both in delegates and popular vote, she will be our nominee.  However, what if she comes within a hair of his delegate count, yet has surpassed his lead in the popular vote?   Again, this is without FL and MI.   What a fascinating dilemma that scenario would present for our party.  

Will we hear hard-core Obama supporters making arguments that Puerto Rico shouldn't determine the outcome of our primary process, largely because they can't vote in the general election?  I certainly could see Clinton supporters making that argument, if it were the other way around.  It is not a far cry from, "we won in states we have to win." You know, the Big State strategy.  Will Obama supporters continue to make the basic argument that this is a race for delegates, not in popular vote (a self-serving argument that both campaigns have made at different times)?

I'll answer my own question, speaking for myself only.   I personally think it would absolutely be legitimate and, actually, quite wonderful that a "state" that cannot vote in the general election achieves such a strong voice.  Also, I personally have said all along that the primary should be determined by the popular vote and should dictate what the super-delegates ultimately do.  

But that's my opinion.  What I'm really interested in is what others think.  I am just absolutely fascinated with the prospect of a colony (of the world's lone empire) deciding who our next president will be.  I say `next president' because McCain, as far as I can tell, died eight years ago.  Our nominee will be president, I finally am convinced.  But, again, that's just my humble opinion.

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Puerto Rico Switches From A Caucus To A Primary

msn1 in Breaking Blue brings word that Puerto Rico has changed its contest, the last (as of now, anyway) of the 2008 Democratic primary season, from a caucus to a primary and, to conform with DNC rules, is moving from June 7 to June 1.

2008 Democratic Convention Watch has an e-mail from Kenneth D. McClintock, DNC member from Puerto Rico:

[Puerto Rico will] change the voting process from 8 caucuses to a primary with voting places in all 1,800+ barrios in Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities. This is done in light of the hundreds of thousands of Democrats expected to turn out on June 1, a late date in which we would have originally expected a pro-forma vote with low turnout. [...]

The change was approved unanimously by all members present, including many Clinton supporters (such as State Chair Prats and myself) and many Obama supporters.

The rationale? There's no way we could handle more than a few tens of thousands of voters in eight district caucuses, while we can handle a million voters (at least 500 voters between 8am and 3 pm per polling place in each of 1,800+ barrios) in a primary.

There's been a lot of talk in the media about Puerto Rico's caucuses being the Democrats' only contest to allocate delegates through a winner take all system, positing that perhaps Hillary Clinton would be able to eat into Barack Obama's pledged delegate lead by winning all of Puerto Rico's 56 pledged delegates. Not so according to The Washington Post's Fact Checker:

The notion of Puerto Rico being a "winner-take-all" jurisdiction stems from previous presidential primary contests, which were pretty much over by the time the Puerto Ricans got to vote. John Kerry swept Puerto Rico in 2004 just as Al Gore triumphed in 2000 because they were the only candidates left in the race, and the party bosses could manipulate the caucus process.

This time will be very different, according to several Puerto Rican Democratic leaders I contacted earlier today by phone. [...]

"Both the candidates have supporters on the island," said Eliseo Roques, vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee's Hispanic Caucus, and a prominent Puerto Rican politician who is neutral in the race. "You will see a closely contested race."

Certainly Hillary Clinton has to be favored in Puerto Rico, perhaps even moreso now that it's a primary, but don't expect it to be the delegate goldmine some were thinking it would be.

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Big article on the issue of Puerto Rico lls_on_puerto_ricos_stat.html

Basically this.  If Puerto Rico is a state, we get 2 Democratic senators, and 6 Democratic Representatives from them.  If they are a state, they get federal funding for things.  

The other position is "we want to be commonwealth" which basically means they remain a US Territory but the United States can give them federal funding anyways.  That is not likely to pass through congress, yet that is where the people of Puerto Rico are mainly divided.  

I'm for Puerto Rico becoming a state.  We wouldn't force them to change their language, or we shouldn't, I'd be ashamed of our government if we tried to change that.  They should have the issue explained to them straight and then have them vote on it next election.  That's how I feel, any other comments?  I thought this was an interesting article.  

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Puerto Rican Statehood Again Becomes An Issue In Congress

This is very, very interesting:
Capitol Hill is debating two proposals to determine the status of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island that has been part of the United States since 1898. Although obscure, the issue could certainly affect perceptions among Puerto Rican voters, who represent a significant segment of the Hispanic vote.(...)

Two competing bills in Congress have primed the lobbying efforts on both sides. The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007, sponsored by Jose E. Serrano (D.-N.Y.), offers a two-step process on the road to statehood. The Puerto Rico Self Determination Act of 2007, sponsored by Nydia M. Velazquez (D.-N.Y.), calls for Puerto Ricans to have a constitutional convention on the subject and then present the results to Congress, which would make the final decision.(...)

At a packed Subcommittee on Insular Affairs hearing Wednesday afternoon, lobbyists following the issue said a statement from a Justice Department official supporting the Serrano bill marked an important victory for Statehooders.
While Bush maintains a veto threat on the bill that would give the District of Columbia a permanent, voting member in the House of Representatives, it actually appears that many Republicans, including the Bush administration, are in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico. In fact, the statehood movement in Puerto Rico seems to be mainly a Republican effort:
The fiercest point of the debate over what happens to Puerto Rico is the partisan question. Both Republicans and Democrats belong to the Statehood Party; 60 percent are Republicans, and the remaining 40 are Democrats. In the Commonwealth Party, those who affiliate themselves with a national party are only Democrats because they're not allowed in the Republican Party, whose platform calls for statehood.

Black argues that as a state, Puerto Rico's congressional delegation would go Democratic because three times as many people vote in that party's primaries compared with those who vote in the Republican ones. Not so, says Fuentes; of the 38 Statehood mayors, only one is a Democrat and 37 are Republicans.
Now, this is a complicated issue, one on which I do not claim to even have a modicum of useful insight. I don't really know why the left, or at least the center-left, position in the Puerto Rico appears to be in favor of remaining a commonwealth without will voting rights, but I certainly do not feel comfortable with the United States maintaining what is, in essence, a very large colony in the Caribbean. Personally, I favor either statehood or independence for Puerto Rico, simply because I don't like resident of any territory of the United States to not have the same rights as residents of any other territory. In my opinion, either we should grant equally to everyone, or we should split up. However, because independence appears to only have about one-tenth of the support of statehood, it would seem that statehood is the only viable political option that I would support.

Leaving aside the likelihood of such an event, the odds of which I can't even begin to estimate, if Puerto Rico were to become a state, it certainly does appear that it would lean Democratic. Latinos broke 69-30 for Democrats in 2006, those with an income under $15K broke 67-30 for Democrats, Democrats make up 40% of the right-wing party on the island, and Democratic primaries have three times greater voter turnout than Republicans. Whether or not the Puerto Rican congressional delegation would elect Democrats, it would probably exclusively members of parties that would at least caucus with congressional Democrats. And the federal delegation would be quite significant: six new US House seats, two new US Senators, and eight electoral votes. This is the sort of structural shift that could take both the House and the Senate virtually out of play for Republicans until at least until 2012, not to mention provide the Democratic nominee for President with an important, new "base" state in the general election. The importance of this issue goes far beyond partisan politics, but it is hard to not salivate at the potential it holds for Democrats.

Any resources or further information people can provide on this issue in the comments would be greatly appreciated. Articulation of the anti-statehood position would also be very helpful.


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