House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

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House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-30 01:30am

Holy shit. I was not expecting to read this today.

The US may soon add its fifty-first state, and the first new state since the 1950s.

https://thehill.com/latino/418466-house ... ehood-vote
The Republican leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday called on Puerto Rico to hold a new vote on statehood.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) tweeted a letter dated Monday, signed by four top Republicans on the House panel, which oversees territorial affairs.


"We are ready for a binding process, endorsed by the federal government, that puts an end to more than 100 years of colonial status through a yes/no statehood vote," said Rosselló.

"We will do our part and the federal government must do its part. Our priority is to end the colony, fulfilling the wish of a people who has chosen statehood on two occasions in the last seven years," Rossello tweeted in Spanish.

The letter recognizes the validity of two previous statehood plebiscites, in 2012 and 2017, and blames the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the nonbinding effects of the 2017 process.

"Despite both the Obama and Trump Administrations and many in Congress having recognized the validity and decisions of the 2012 and 2017 votes, the inability of the DOJ to provide a timely blessing of the 2017 vote has allowed its opponents to contest its results," wrote the Republicans, led by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).

Bishop was joined by fellow Republicans Rep. Don Young (Alaska), the chairman emeritus of the panel; Doug LaMalfa (Calif.), head of the Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee; and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón.

The letter represents the most explicit acceptance of the 2017 plebiscite's results, where 97 percent of voters picked statehood, albeit with a historically low 23 percent participation rate.

The plebiscite was considered nonbinding, as the Department of Justice requested changes to the ballots initially presented by Rosselló.

Rosselló's administration made changes suggested by the DOJ, but refused to change the date of the plebiscite to allow the feds time to review the new ballot.

That ballot included a three-part question, meant to level the playing field between statehood, independence or maintaining Puerto Rico's status as a free associated state.

Natural Resources Republicans suggested in their letter a further referendum, with a yes/no question on statehood.

"This would allow for all the opponents of statehood — whether they support independence, continued Commonwealth status, Free Association, or even 'none of the above' — to vote 'No,' thus defeating the exclusion argument that some have advanced in the past," reads the letter.

Although Rosselló and other pro-statehood Puerto Rican officials have based their claim on statehood on the 2017 plebiscite, the governor seemed open to the suggestion in the letter, advanced by his ally in the statehood fight, González-Colón .

Rosselló and González-Colón are among the most vocal advocates for statehood, and belong to the pro-statehood New Progressive Party on the island, although nationally, Rosselló is a Democrat and González-Colón a Republican.
And I very rarely say this, but... good for House Republicans. Granted, its House Republicans, so I'm kind of expecting there to be some hidden poisonous neo-fascist agenda here, because House Republicans actually expanding peoples' voting rights is the kind of thing you'd expect to happen only when Hell has an ice age. But as far as I can see, this is a good thing. Its far past time we stop treating Puerto Ricans as literal second-class citizens, ruled by the US but without an equal vote or representation. Now if only we could get the same for Guam, American Samoa, DC, etc...

Going to link the old John Oliver video on the status of the territories as well. Pay attention to the part where they are literally being denied equal rights on the basis of old court rulings that they are populated by "alien races" that can't understand Anglo-Saxon values.

https://www.youtube.com/watc?v=CesHr99ezWe

So yeah. An all-too-rare case of the US government actually trying to expand democracy, not decrease it.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-11-30 03:14am

A lot of rich people bought a lot of land in puerto rico after the storm. Almost everything.

https://www.thenation.com/article/when- ... erto-rico/
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-11-30 05:40am

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't District of Columbia a terrority so that no state could get the "honor" of being the state where the capital is located? Also would that really matter in modern times.

I'm wondering since in addition of being a non-federal Republic, capital of Finland has always been part of one administaritive regions "Uusimaa" (literally "new land/region"), also being the capital of that region (only time Helsinki is it's own is during elections and even that is due to the region too high of a population relative to the rest of the country).
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Tribble » 2018-11-30 08:36am

Can Trump veto it? IIRC he's flat out against Puerto Rican statehood, on account of them saying mean things about him.

I suspect another reason is that they are hoping a lot of Peurto Ricans will go back home if it becomes a state; no matter how much they despite Peurto Ricans they are still allowed to vote, so if they go home it may help keep Flordia from flipping in an election.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Esquire » 2018-11-30 11:05pm

A reminder that Puerto Rico has had lots of statehood referenda before, and has never unambiguously voted for it. The most recent was in 2017, where to be fair the pro-statehood side won overwhelmingly - but only because the anti-statehood side boycotted the referendum; in the 2012 one statehood lost by 15 percentage points.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Esquire » 2018-11-30 11:08pm

Sorry, I'm an idiot; the 2012 one was in fact the first won by the pro-statehood side, but the question was super ambiguously worded and subsequent research suggested that it was thrown off by people wanting to leave the US sphere entirely.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 01:29am

Esquire wrote:
2018-11-30 11:05pm
A reminder that Puerto Rico has had lots of statehood referenda before, and has never unambiguously voted for it. The most recent was in 2017, where to be fair the pro-statehood side won overwhelmingly - but only because the anti-statehood side boycotted the referendum; in the 2012 one statehood lost by 15 percentage points.
If a bunch of people exercise their choice not to participate, I'm not sure how that makes the result illegitimate.

It is also inaccurate to say that the pro-statehood side lost in 2012, or at least over-simplistic. Going off Wikipedia, the referendum had two questions: should Puerto Rico continue its current status, and which non-territorial option did voters prefer? Status quo lost 54-46%. Of the alternatives, Statehood got the most votes, with 61%. So there was no option that commanded a clear majority support, but status quo lost clearly, and statehood was the most popular alternative by nearly 2 to 1.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-01 02:45am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-12-01 01:29am
<snip>
Apologies re: 2012; I was going off memory with apparently insufficient checks. Point provisionally withdrawn while I consider implications.

I stand by not giving much weight to the 2017 referendum, because a) I don't know anywhere near enough about Puerto Rican internal affairs to justify taking a concrete position on what the pros and cons of voting in it would have been, and b) I actually do think a referendum where a supermajority of the electorate didn't vote shouldn't count; the point is to take the pulse of the electorate directly and if most of the electorate doesn't participate, that isn't what you've done. Yes, this heuristic does invalidate most US elections by induction; no, this is not an accident.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 03:10am

If the majority chooses not to participate, then that is their choice, and how they choose to express it. It's stupid, and selfish, but not illegitimate, in my view.

Now, if major impediments are thrown up to discourage or prevent people from voting, then that does make an election's legitimacy questionable. And by that standard, yes a lot of US elections are illegitimate. If a system is designed to skew in favour of a minority, rather than reflect the people's votes equally, that likewise is of questionable legitimacy (see the Electoral College in US Presidential elections).
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-01 03:17am

I make no moral judgement; I'm just not going to necessarily trust anything which claims to represent the will of the people if ~75% of those people didn't contribute to it. I don't know why they didn't and don't necessarily trust any of the information I can find to tell me, but that's not really relevant given the former heuristic - regardless of why the non-statehood side didn't vote in the referendum, that same 75% are at least not explicitly-pro [major change in Puerto Rico's status], therefore we need to be really careful interpreting the referendum results.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-12-01 06:08am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-12-01 01:29am
It is also inaccurate to say that the pro-statehood side lost in 2012, or at least over-simplistic. Going off Wikipedia, the referendum had two questions: should Puerto Rico continue its current status, and which non-territorial option did voters prefer? Status quo lost 54-46%. Of the alternatives, Statehood got the most votes, with 61%. So there was no option that commanded a clear majority support, but status quo lost clearly, and statehood was the most popular alternative by nearly 2 to 1.
On the other hand, the number of votes cast for something other than statehood outnumbered those cast for statehood by over half a million. Lies, damn lies, statistics. It strikes me that a better way to do the referendum would have been to have a single question "which of these options do you prefer - status quo, statehood, independence?".
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Solauren » 2018-12-01 08:09am

I can see why the Republicans would do this.

Imagine how much of a feather in the historical cap of Trump it would be to be able to claim to be the President that added the 51st State to the Union.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Tribble » 2018-12-01 09:26am

Solauren wrote:
2018-12-01 08:09am
I can see why the Republicans would do this.

Imagine how much of a feather in the historical cap of Trump it would be to be able to claim to be the President that added the 51st State to the Union.
Some Republicans want it, but IIRC Trump is against the idea.

I agree with TRR with regards to the referendum. Provided there is no voter fraud / voter suppression, if a significant portion of the population doesnt vote on it, that's their choice. Why should their vote effectively count as preserving the status quo? IMO they had the opportunity to voice their opinion, and by not voting they effectively chose "I dont care enough about this to do anything, let others decide "
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Ralin » 2018-12-01 01:23pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-12-01 09:26am
Why should their vote effectively count as preserving the status quo?
Why should a non-binding referendum that three-quarters of the electorate wasn't willing to participate in count as a reason to change the status quo?
IMO they had the opportunity to voice their opinion, and by not voting they effectively chose "I dont care enough about this to do anything, let others decide "
Your opinion is wrong. The boycotters chose to declare that the vote was illegitimate for a variety of reasons, including issues with how the choices were defined. Nor was it just a matter of not voting; about a third of the voters left that part of the ballot blank. Exactly what option they would have preferred isn't completely clear, but once you account for that it drops the number of voters who supported statehood to less than half.

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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 02:16pm

Well, in any case, the point here is to hold a new vote, with a clear yes or no on statehood, rather than relying on the old votes. I think that statehood option will probably with that vote, but it remains to be seen for certain.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Tribble » 2018-12-01 02:20pm

Ralin wrote: Why should a non-binding referendum that three-quarters of the electorate wasn't willing to participate in count as a reason to change the status quo?
? My understanding is that if a referendum is held this time it would be binding. I was talking about the current one being proposed, sorry if I didn't make that clear.
Ralin wrote: Your opinion is wrong. The boycotters chose to declare that the vote was illegitimate for a variety of reasons, including issues with how the choices were defined. Nor was it just a matter of not voting; about a third of the voters left that part of the ballot blank. Exactly what option they would have preferred isn't completely clear, but once you account for that it drops the number of voters who supported statehood to less than half.
See above.

I'll expand what I said before: if the choice is clear, and there is no evidence of voter fraud / suppression then I think it's fair that if there is a binding referendum on statehood, those who choose not to vote shouldn't be counted as being in favour of the status quo.

Feel free to disagree with me on that one.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Elfdart » 2018-12-02 07:33am

I'm suspicious of most referendums because they tend to be worded very dishonestly to the point where voters think they're voting for something when they are fact voting against it.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-12-02 08:00am

Elfdart wrote:
2018-12-02 07:33am
I'm suspicious of most referendums because they tend to be worded very dishonestly to the point where voters think they're voting for something when they are fact voting against it.
They can be, but all established democracies have an independent body to vet the question and ensure fairness.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Elfdart » 2018-12-02 08:13am

That's good to know about those countries, but in the USA it's common for loading a ballot measure with so many double and triple negatives that a voter has to diagram a sentence just to make heads or tails of what yes or no means ("Do you not favor the prohibition on not selling liquor...")
The story is completely and unashamedly silly, the plot non-existent, the acting atrocious, in fact, the whole movie just a gratuitous excuse to show off Eva Green in a thinly-veiled soft porn film.

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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-02 11:16pm

Elfdart wrote:
2018-12-02 08:13am
That's good to know about those countries, but in the USA it's common for loading a ballot measure with so many double and triple negatives that a voter has to diagram a sentence just to make heads or tails of what yes or no means ("Do you not favor the prohibition on not selling liquor...")
I regularly vote on the referendum issues on Colorado ballots, and while the wording can require some parsing, the ballots generally include a notice reminding voters that a yes vote is a vote to change the status quo, and a no vote is a vote to keep the status quo (or the reverse, I honestly can't remember which right now).

Not sure how they do it in Puerto Rico- Colorado is a pretty good state about voting rights in general.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-03 01:43am

This is at least not true in either Missouri or, as I recall, Maryland. Not that either is, you know, great about voting access issues.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Solauren » 2018-12-03 08:20pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-12-01 09:26am
Solauren wrote:
2018-12-01 08:09am
I can see why the Republicans would do this.

Imagine how much of a feather in the historical cap of Trump it would be to be able to claim to be the President that added the 51st State to the Union.
Some Republicans want it, but IIRC Trump is against the idea.

I agree with TRR with regards to the referendum. Provided there is no voter fraud / voter suppression, if a significant portion of the population doesnt vote on it, that's their choice. Why should their vote effectively count as preserving the status quo? IMO they had the opportunity to voice their opinion, and by not voting they effectively chose "I dont care enough about this to do anything, let others decide "
Like a political party never voted against their leaders wishes when it served their own purpose.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Tribble » 2018-12-03 09:26pm

Solauren wrote:
2018-12-03 08:20pm
Tribble wrote:
2018-12-01 09:26am
Solauren wrote:
2018-12-01 08:09am
I can see why the Republicans would do this.

Imagine how much of a feather in the historical cap of Trump it would be to be able to claim to be the President that added the 51st State to the Union.
Some Republicans want it, but IIRC Trump is against the idea.

I agree with TRR with regards to the referendum. Provided there is no voter fraud / voter suppression, if a significant portion of the population doesnt vote on it, that's their choice. Why should their vote effectively count as preserving the status quo? IMO they had the opportunity to voice their opinion, and by not voting they effectively chose "I dont care enough about this to do anything, let others decide "
Like a political party never voted against their leaders wishes when it served their own purpose.
Fair enough, though:

A) the Republcians Party is very quickly becoming the Trump Party given his demands for total loyalty and
B) If he is able to block/veto it (I'm not sure on that, does anyone know?), from what it sounds like so far he might very well do so on the grounds that the Puerto Ricans insulted him. And because they are latino not Real Americans.
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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by houser2112 » 2018-12-04 11:05am

Solauren wrote:
2018-12-01 08:09am
I can see why the Republicans would do this. Imagine how much of a feather in the historical cap of Trump it would be to be able to claim to be the President that added the 51st State to the Union.
I can't. Admitting states to the union upsets power balances. It affects presidential elections, Senate deliberations, and possibly a Constitutional Convention. The Republicans are losing ground demographically, but continue to hold their edge because our Constitution places a lot more value on land than people. Admitting a state that contains people who will exacerbate that demographic shift, in addition to eating directly into their Electoral College and Senate advantages, seems counter-productive to me from their perspective.

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Re: House Republicans and Puerto Rico Governor agree to hold Puerto Rico statehood referendum.

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-12-08 12:34pm

I don't know why people are so confused about the motivations involved, here. This proposal is coming from the House Natural Resources Committee. It's backers include Rob Bishop (who has a history of wanting to overturn environmental protection regulations for the purpose of profit) and Don Young (who has called environmentalists un-American and said that oil spills are a "natural phenomena"). As has already been posted in this thread, after the hurricane a lot of land in Puerto Rico was bought up by mainland American firms. I think this has pretty apparent financial motivations, rather than anything political. It's about the rich getting richer.

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