Once the euphoria fades, more of the media will turn to pushing Puerto Rican statehood after a non-binding referendum where Puerto Ricans sorta voted for statehood… but not really.
Why all the caveats?
1. The only reason that statehood even pulled off a slim majority is because the economy has hit Puerto Rico hard and they’re looking for more money.
2. A majority of Puerto Ricans did not, in any reasonable interpretation, vote for statehood.
First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous “sovereign free association” and 6% for outright independence.
Calling this a majority vote is debatable. And that’s even without this problematic part of the story.
One-third of all votes cast — were left blank on the question of preferred alternative status. If you assume those blank votes are anti-statehood votes, the true result for the statehood option would be less than 50%
So no, a majority of Puerto Ricans did not vote for statehood, but that doesn’t matter, because the media and Obama will begun trumpeting a successful statehood vote based on a non-binding vote in which 40 percent voted for statehood as a potential alternative, without it being clear how many of that 40 percent were also part of the 54 percent that wanted a change in status… as a mandate.
Obama said that he wanted a clear majority to vote in favor of statehood. This is a bait and switch vote that produced nothing resembling that. And the contrast with the supermajority for Hawaii’s statehood referendum in 1959 where over 90 percent voted for statehood could not be more glaring.
And did I mention that this is purely about money?
An economic downturn and shrinking population were the factors that contributed to the support for statehood, where referendums in 1967, 1993 and 1998 failed, Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock said.
Most Puerto Ricans already live and vote in America for obvious reasons. But accepting Puerto Rico as a state would add some Congressmen and two Senators. And despite the Puerto Rican presence at the Republican convention, they would end up being Democrats.
Statehood for Puerto Rico would be right up there with statehood for Nevada, which was a political ploy by Lincoln and the Republicans at the time.