I’m way too busy to address this but since it is being touted as legitimate analysis- and this is the second bad article I read about the same issue in 2 days- well… I have to respond to “The Meaningless Vote for Puerto Rican Statehood” by Diego Panzardi Serra published in the Harvard Political Review.
The fact that you may not like, or perhaps you are horrified by the idea of statehood for Puerto Rico, should not blind your judgement and logic.
Also, that the Harvard Political review publishes articles like this one is what I call “College Liberals Engaging in Rescuing Little Brown Brotherxs In Chains.” They don’t publish this kind of weak propaganda for “real American” issues.
But let’s get to the article itself.
1. Establishing “credentials” or “yo soy Boricua pa’ que tu lo sepas”.
“However, as a Puerto Rican, I can assure you that the matter is not that simple.”
That implies that every Puerto Rican carries in their DNA all that you need to know about Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans. For this reason I propose that we stop studying Puerto Rico. I’m going to start by burning my own research since it is redundant AF. We carry our truth in our blood. And damn scholars and their lies.
2. Play with numbers like if you were a Fox News analyst- or didn’t know math.
“First, the referendum was nonbinding, which may have affected the results and turnout of the election. If people decided not to participate because they thought the vote to be inconsequential, the ‘majority’ captured by the vote would not be legitimate.”
If we were to follow this logic (and we shouldn’t) then you have to apply it to even pro-statehood voters. This kind of “analysis” cut both ways. Also, if there is such antipathy towards statehood (and there is in sentiment but apparently not in numbers) wouldn’t people take the opportunity to say “NO” as loud as possible?
“Additionally, over 37,000 people decided to cast their ballots blank, which in Puerto Rico is a popular act of protest.”
That may be, but in elections, if you don’t vote you are conceding.
“Ultimately, just over 50% of the voters that showed up actually voted “Yes” — approximately 600,000 people out of Puerto Rico’s total population of 3 million.”
It is actually 52% which in elections, plebiscites and referendums is a broad margin. Ask Trumpers. Plus, basic analysis tells you that you compare equal things. For example, the number of votes pro statehood can only be compared to the number of votes against it, and against the total numbers of eligible voters (with limitations because those who chose not to or couldn’t vote in this cycle belong to all political affiliations). And you can also contrast it with the number of voters cast- but not with the whole population. Again, this is basic analysis, and in Puerto Rico we call it “cambiando chinas por botellas”.
3. More horrible numbers.
“The validity of the vote may be further questioned due to the irregularities in scrutiny that are being reported by various parties. More than 170 briefcases with untallied ballots were found a week after the election, each containing anywhere from three to 500 ballots.”
First, assuming that the untallied votes were stolen by the PNP is not a good start. Second, these boxes represent – if his numbers are correct- 68,000 votes. I want to see them counted. But I would not be surprised if they were overwhelmingly pro PPD and PNP. And putting the whole elections’ result in doubt sounds Trumpish AF.
4. Grandstanding in the name of democracy while blocking a democratic process- check.
“Given the nonbinding nature of the referendum, the tiny fraction of the population that voted for statehood, and the possibility of large numbers of untallied votes, this result is essentially meaningless and undemocratic.”
First, anyone who studies or follows politics knows that no result- a win or a loss- is ever meaningless. What is really undemocratic is not to vote or see your numbers go low, and them try to delegitimize those who vote against your ideal. Funny, that is exactly what Trump is doing in the U.S. right now because it is a favorite Nationalist strategy. Only “real Americans count”- only “real Puerto Ricans count”- same narrative. “Count the legal votes- count the legal votes” woke Puerto Ricans and Trumpers chant in unison. Oh, they are also united by calling the opposition corrupt- weepa.
5. Telling you is all politcal and that statehooders (how dare they) promise a better future under statehood (duh).
“The topic of statehood in Puerto Rico serves a political agenda: the support for the New Progressive Party. The leaders of the PNP use the promise of “prosperity” and “federal funds” through statehood to gather votes for their candidates. This has been the case for decades, and it was the purpose of this plebiscite.”
I can’t even. Seriously? The topic of statehood serves a politcal agenda? I thought it was about gardening. And yes, they go for the same federal funds and fight for parity with states- it is called working for the well-being of their constituents.
But thank you for pointing out the disconnect of Puerto Rican elites (mostly in academia) with Puerto Rico’s reality. And thanks so much for reviving in a very nuanced way the argument that the poor who votes for statehood is seeking to live of “mantengo”.
6. Repeat Debunked Myths “After all, Puerto Ricans are known for being a deeply patriotic people. This is not surprising after many years of oppression by the United States; for a while, it was illegal to own a Puerto Rican flag.”
Uh, uh dude- it was never banned or criminalized. That has been debunked for a while now.
“It is not a coincidence that the most common argument against statehood is that we would not be able to participate in the Olympics under our own flag.”
Don’t forget Miss Universe. Good scholars have written about it. Then again, the writer should really immerse himself in understanding Puerto Rican politics. For the longest time both the PPD and PIP have used the fear of losing one’s identity when they see their parties losing support. I don’t know you but to me this is rather low.
7. Repeat that is about more than politics- and hyperbolize numbers while minimizing others.
“While this group is currently a minority, the Puerto Rican Independence Party received almost 14% of the vote during this election, a figure they had not seen for decades. Whether this signals a growing support for independence is not clear, but one thing is sure: The debate is far from being settled.”
Let me break it for you kid- it was Dalmau- el tipo esta bueno. And that “The debate is far from being settled” sounds like trump talking about Michigan.
“This is not just about politics. It is about identity, culture and nationality.”
All that you mention above is part of politics.
I suggest that instead of trying to delegitimize the opposition you work on figuring out why people keep voting for statehood despite being represented by a party like the PNP with all its corruption scandals and miss-management. Moreover, the PNP is unable to offer a counter punch to the cultural politics line- “we will lose our identity if we become a state”. By the way that is an ultra-nationalist, discriminatory, racist, and wrong argument- it makes our state-based population non-Puerto Ricans oops!
The PNP should be losing in a landslide- but keeps winning. The statehood movement keeps growing- both archipelago-based and state-based despite the PNPs inability to counter cultural politics (to the point that PNPs now are kin of ok with state-based Boricuas voting in a status referendum!- and Democrats have moved to embrace “self-determination”).
Let’s look at this issue without vilifying statehooders or being elitist or condescending to them. Scholars analyze processes- and if it is too close to them- they should take a step back. Otherwise they reproduce myths and produce propaganda. And that is never ok.
See the funny article here.