Puerto Rico, while not a state, still has a say in the Republican and Democrat primaries. The territory goes to the polls today. No one really has any idea what will happen there, as no one has conducted any polls in the territory.
Most people in the US have no clue what is going on in Puerto Rico, so I thought I’d give you all a little background. Like most of the other Caribbean island countries, the island is facing a severe debt crisis and cash shortage, and its US Commonwealth status is making negotiations with their creditors very difficult:
Puerto Rico and its agencies owe $70 billion after years of borrowing to fill budget gaps. The U.S. Congress is debating whether to allow the commonwealth to restructure its debt and also implement a federal control board that would oversee the island’s spending and borrowing plans. Its economy has shrunk in the past decade and residents are leaving to find work on the U.S. mainland.
Puerto Rico may suspend principal and interest payments on its bonds in less than three months as the island struggles to cover health and safety programs, according to an administration official.
The potential halt on debt-service payments comes as the commonwealth’s Government Development Bank faces a $422 million debt payment May 1. Puerto Rico and its agencies owe investors $2 billion on July 1, including $805 million for general-obligations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The economy of the island is being crushed by a long recession:
Puerto Rico, with a 45 percent poverty rate, has been in recession for nearly a decade and is losing population to the mainland. It is suffering from a huge debt buildup and has already defaulted on some borrowings.
“There is fear of the future,” said Weiss. “Puerto Ricans are leaving and are joining us on the mainland where they find access to jobs, a future for their children, better healthcare.”
Rubio is likely to pick up his second real win here:
So who will win? Senator Marco Rubio supports statehood, while Donald Trump and Governor John Kasich support self-determination, both of which endear them to some pro-statehood organizers on the island. However, Rubio has also opposed the option of Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, which has angered many Puerto Ricans. Senator Ted Cruz has remained silent on the issue. On the Democratic side, Clinton does not have an official campaign promise on the issue, although she has said that she would “ensure whatever choice Puerto Rico makes will be respected.” Carrillo has been convinced that she will work for a resolution. Senator Bernie Sanders has explicitly endorsed only the ability for Puerto Rico to be provided bankruptcy protections.
Torres recognized Rubio and Trump by their name value—both candidates have invested the most on the island—and Carrillo has seen an uptick in Trump support. However, PredictWise’s market-based predictions put Rubio in a commanding lead in the Republican primary on Sunday, with a 77 percent chance of winning. He will look to solidify that commanding lead and his hold on all of Puerto Rico’s delegates with a rally tomorrow night. While some Trump surrogates on the island are mounting a last-minute push, the Republican primary appears to be Rubio’s to lose.
Of the US territories, Puerto Rico also has the largest delegate haul by far at 23 up for grabs. The other US territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas Islands, and the US Virgin Islands each have nine delegates, though of those four, only the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands will hold caucuses; the other two territories are mostly irrelevant for reasons similar to those of Colorado.
As noted in NWConservative’s excellent post dissecting the rules of each state, Puerto Rico has a winner take all threshold of 50%, meaning if Rubio breaks 50%, he will get all 23 delegates. I don’t think Trump will win tomorrow, but he and Cruz may yet succeed in preventing Rubio from getting all 23 of the delegates.
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