Do Democrats Have a Quiet Plan to Use Puerto Rico to Win the next Election?

(ANTIMEDIA) Congressman Alan Grayson filed a joint resolution last Friday proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to treat Puerto Rico as a state “for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President.

The move comes as no surprise from the Florida Congressman whose district is home to more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans and who has a record of supporting legislation related to Puerto Rico. The proposed resolution is an interesting move amid post-election calls from high-profile Democrats such as Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to abolish the Electoral College.

Since November, Democrats and progressives have been attacking the legitimacy of the electoral college results from multiple angles. There are the so-called “Hamilton Electors” and supporters, who are appealing to a vision of the Electoral College as a mandate for faithless electors, while still others are calling to abandon the ‘archaic’ Electoral College system entirely.

While the “Hamilton Electors” campaign is largely seen as a Democratic effort, one Harvard law professor claims that as many as 30 Republican electors are considering casting a vote against Trump.

The most recent efforts to undermine the electoral results came on Monday when the 10 “Hamilton Electors” sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper demanding an intelligence briefing regarding allegations of the Russian government’s interference in the elections. As of Thursday, an additional 58 electors have signed the bipartisan letter.

Under the current rules of the Electoral College, as a commonwealth, Puerto Rico cannot participate in the general election. Puerto Rico does, however, host primary elections. As explained in Federal Register, these are held exclusively to choose delegates for representation at political party conventions.

Results from Puerto Rico’s primaries, combined with records of voting trends among mainland Latino voters, indicate that if added into the Union, Puerto Rico would be a blue state. While it is estimated that Puerto Rico would only stand to receive seven electoral votes, Puerto Rico’s comparably high voter turnout could make the current commonwealth an important Democratic stronghold in future elections, especially in the case of elections based solely on popular vote.

This is not the first time that the issue of statehood has been brought up. The topic arose most recently in 2012 when Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood for the first time. The outcome of the referendum was largely criticized for its leading forced-choice format, in which voters had to select a preferred non-territorial option regardless of whether they actually supported changing Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status. The reported 61% support for the Statehood option disregarded the 500,000 voters (24%) who left the question blank, leaving Congress at the time unconvinced.

A move for Statehood would also entitle Puerto Rico to two Senators and five representatives, presenting what The Economist called a “political nightmare for the GOP” in 2013.

Grayson’s current joint resolution has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, where Democratic members, which include Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, are outnumbered by Republicans 23 to 16. This is a bleak assignment, especially considering that statistically, committees are where bills go to die.

A move towards Puerto Rican Statehood, while unlikely, is just one among various efforts we can expect from Democrats and others who are still reeling from the November upset and now find themselves having to reorganize to prepare for future elections.

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