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Puerto Rico Votes For Statehood

A historically small turnout of Puerto Rican voters came out on Sunday to cast their ballots in a non-binding vote over whether or not to apply for U.S. statehood. Even though only 23% of eligible voters came out to cast their ballots, 97% of those chose to move towards become the 51st state. Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló has been pushing for a yes vote for some time. He and his supporters think it is the best way to deal with Puerto Rico’s massive debt and poverty problems. Over the last few years, the island’s debt has spiraled to a whopping 73 billion and crime and unemployment are rampant.

The vote is non-binding as the United States congress has to decide whether or not to admit Puerto Rico as a state. The small island nation has been an American protectorate since it was ceded to the U.S. from Spain in 1899 at the end of the Spanish American War. There have been currents to either seek independence, statehood, or a maintenance of the status quo since then. Over the last few years, after several elections over the decades that voted to keep things the way they are, the calls for statehood have increased.

In my opinion there is about 0% chance that the current congress and administration would advocate for Puerto Rican statehood. There is no way that the Republican congress and president Trump would take on that much additional debt. Not to mention the fact that Puerto Rico is an overwhelmingly Democratic state and the Republicans wouldn’t want to add any Democratic electoral votes to the 2020 election. Puerto Rico’s economic woes are dire and I’m afraid that for the time being they aren’t going to get much help from the U.S. to bail them out.

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