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lunes, 2 de junio de 2008

What We’ve Learned In Puerto Rico With Hillary Clinton

by Aaron Bruns Hillary Clinton will leave Puerto Rico with a sizable win, though the turnout could have been better for her. Aides say it’ll be around 20%, somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 — less than the 30% turnout for a recent primary for governor and far less than the usual general election turnout of 80%. After spending nearly a week on the Island, here are a few things we’ve learned: -It’s All About Status. Clinton stressed that she’d let Puerto Ricans decide for themselves whether they want statehood or not by the end of her first term, and she’d work with the Congress to make their decision law. While the economy, crime, and health care are important issues here, Status is number one. Her stance always draws the biggest round of applause — and her commitment to doing something right away is cited as an advantage over Obama by islanders. -The Lady Likes to Dance. Something about Puerto Rico brings out Clinton’s inner Dancing Queen. She swayed and clapped in church, got jiggy in a bar, shook it on top of a pick-up truck in La Caravana, and showed off some moves to some Reggaeton at her San Juan rally. -Red vs Blue. It’s not Republicans and Democrats in Puerto Rico: it’s the Partido Popular Democratico, or PPD vs the Partido Nuevo Progresista, or PNP in the battle over whether the island should become a state. The PPD, associated with the color red because of its logo, believes in keeping an upgrading commonwealth status; the blue PNP is in favor of full statehood. While the island is fairly evenly divided, the Statehood party is in ascendency now — in part due to the Commonwealth governor’s indictment on corruption charges. There’s also an Independence party, but it’s distinctly in third place. -Crowd Size. The Clinton campaign says voter turnout is as high as 90% in many elections in Puerto Rico, comparing politics to the national sport. But enthusiasm for a Democratic primary — even in this heavily Democratic territory — is low, perhaps because Puerto Ricans who live on the island can’t vote in the general election even though they’re US citizens. That was born out in the crowds at Clinton’s events last weekend, when she often spoke to 100 people or fewer. On Friday, she held a rally with surrogates and a hip-hop act in downtown San Juan that drew 500 people. The campaign says turnout may be down this time around due to pro-commonwealth and pro-independent parties refusing to participate in an election that they believe legitimizes the US Government. -She Can Speak A Little Spanish. She threw out a “Buenos Noches” and “Buenos Dias,” a “Si Se Puedo” and even a “Si Lo Haremos” — or Yes We Will

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