Will pissed-off Puerto Ricans help turn crucial swing states blue in 2020?
Given the current state of our republic and the breathtaking cruelty of our ocher overlord, it’s no wonder that Puerto Rico is still in crisis.
During and after his visit to Puerto Rico, Donald Trump treated our fellow citizens much like he treats the women in his life: by loudly pointing out how much he’s spending on them, comparing them unfavorably to others in the same situation, throwing a few paper towels at them before he left, bragging about his performance for weeks afterwards, and never calling again.
When you’re a dipshit solipsist like Trump, that’s what passes for magnanimity.
But while Trump probably thought his wham-bam-fuck-you-San-Juan performance was just barely adroit enough to convince white suburban swing-state soccer moms that he’s not really a vile racist, he could be in deep caca with Puerto Ricans living stateside who, you know, get to vote. Who knew?
It’s likely occurred to many political junkies that Trump’s Hurricane Maria response could hurt him badly in Florida, which has the second-highest Puerto Rican population in the U.S. after New York (more than 1 million as of 2014). In fact, this is hard to overstate. You’re going to have hundreds of thousands of pissed-off Puerto Ricans looking for payback in a key swing state that Trump won by a little less than 113,000 votes.
Oh, but it gets better.
It may come as a surprise to some that the three states that helped Trump break Hillary Clinton’s blue firewall all have significant Puerto Rican populations.
According to the 2010 census, Michigan, which Trump won by just 10,704 votes, has the 17th-largest Puerto Rican population in the U.S. (37,267).
Wisconsin, with a Puerto Rican population of 46,323, ranks 14th.
But most worrying for Trump/Pence/Putin is Pennsylvania, which is home to the fourth-largest Puerto Rican population in the country (366,082). Trump won the state by just 44,292 votes in 2016.
Pittsburgh City Paper sums up the mood among Pennsylvania’s diaspora Puerto Ricans nicely:
“The abysmal Trump response to this tragedy has enraged and energized the Puerto Rican community in Reading and Allentown,” wrote Adanjesus Marin of statewide Latino-rights group Make the Road Pennsylvania, in an email to CP. “We are helping to direct this outrage not only into the streets, but into the ballot boxes.” Marin wrote that the number of Puerto Rican volunteers at Make the Road has doubled since the hurricane.
Historically, Puerto Rican voters have had little sway in Pennsylvania politics, but things could be changing. Trump won Pennsylvania by only about 44,000 votes. The state’s Puerto Rican population is growing fast, and part of it is concentrated in Republican-held districts. Since 2006, Pennsylvania’s Puerto Rican population has grown by 153,700 residents, according to U.S. Census figures. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth and can vote in elections, once they move to any U.S. state.
Oh, and let’s not forget: Thanks to the Trump administration’s incompetence, more Puerto Ricans are fleeing to the mainland every day. Let’s go out on a limb and say they’re not going to be favorably disposed toward Mr. Trump or his GOP lackeys.
Tuesday’s election results gave us reason to hope for a giant blue wave during the 2018 midterms. Thanks to Puerto Rico — an island surrounded by water, big water — that wave could very well go tidal by 2020.
Hang on tight.