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    February 13, 2008

    Bizarre P.R. scenario in reverse?

    Posted by: Chris

    A few days ago I linked in a comment to what seemed a somewhat bizarre end-game scenario for the Democratic presidential nomination. Michael Barone of U.S. News had pointed out that Puerto Rico's caucuses in early June put 63 delegates at stake -- more than South Carolina, Virginia or many states -- and for unique historical reasons have in the past gone winner-take-all rather than proportionally like the other contests:

    In practice, the dominant figure in Puerto Rico identifying with the Democratic Party has seen to it that his faction gets all the territory’s delegates. This was true of Govs. Carlos Romero Barcelo and Pedro Rosello of the New Progressive Party (PNP) as well as Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD).

    PPD politicians almost always identify with mainland Democrats (an exception was Sila Calderón, governor from 2000 to 2004, who identified with neither party and concentrated, successfully, on persuading Congress and the Bush administration to close the artillery range on Vieques Island).

    It’s not clear to me at this distance whether the current governor, Aníbal Acevedo of the PPD, will have similar clout. He’s at odds with Rosello, and the legislature is in the hands of the PNP. But if Acevedo doesn’t determine who gets Puerto Rico’s 63 votes, someone else will. And they aren’t likely to be proportionately distributed.

    Barone's scenario assumed that Acevedo would back Clinton, who has done much better with Latinos (at least until the past few primaries). But today Acevedo endorsed Obama. Does that give Obama a firewall of his own?



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    1. Andoni on Feb 13, 2008 3:18:13 PM:

      As I recall, Puerto Rico is the last primary. In addition to the scenario Barone related in U.S. News -- that Puerto Rico could put either Hillary or Obama over the top, the real irony is that these Puerto Rican voters, under the Constitution, cannot vote for President of the United States.

      So you have a scenario where these voters can be the final arbiters as to who the nominee for president is, but when it comes to the actual election, these same people can't vote for president. How much crazier can this get?

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