Latinos have been central to the 2016 United States presidential election with Puerto Ricans taking center stage in Florida as the community mobilizes and grows in numbers. A recent Center for American Progress survey delved into the motivations of this newly influential voting block in Florida and found that Puerto Ricans in Florida align with the broader Latino electorate on key issues. Considering Boricuas could potentially determine the outcome of races across the ballot in the Sunshine Swing State, all Latinos should be paying close attention… and voting!
1) Economy, Jobs & Unemployment – 33%
— #QueVoteMiGente (@QueVoteMiGente) October 28, 2016
Puerto Ricans have been leaving the island at a historic rate, mostly citing their failing economy and lack of work opportunities, so it stands to reason that these issues are a primary focus on the mainland. And more generally, the economy and jobs tend to lead among voters across the country.
2) Health Care – 19%
Credit: Roll Call
With threats to public health like the Zika virus growing in Florida and Puerto Rico, it makes sense that almost one in five Puerto Rican voters consider health care the most important issue this election season. It goes without saying that every human being deserves quality health care, right?
3) Immigration & Deportations – 13%
A photo posted by Immigration Resource Center (@ircsgv) on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:54am PDT
While Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship, they still see immigration as a significant issue, identifying with the rest of the U.S. Latino community on an issue impacting families and politicians.
4) Education – 12%
A photo posted by NBCLatino (@nbclatino) on May 25, 2016 at 7:13am PDT
Boricuas have commonly come stateside for college-level education, but the island has closed more than 20 percent of the schools there, and with so many Puerto Rican families established and growing up in the U.S. education system, this one is a no-brainer. Every American deserves a quality education.
5) Puerto Rican Financial Crisis – 11%
A post shared by Christina Hernandez (@xtinahernandez) on
The country’s devastating recession over the past 10 years has left Puerto Rico to default and put serious financial strain on the Island’s population. This ranking speaks volumes to the concern Puerto Ricans in the U.S. have for their friends and family on the Island – none of whom are able to vote in presidential elections, despite being U.S. citizens.
6) Anti-Latino & Immigrant Discrimination – 10%
A photo posted by Adri Ramírez-Rocha (@austereshore) on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:30pm PDT
Even though they are American citizens, Puerto Rican people, language and culture are distinctly Latino, and they still face as many prejudices as other minority communities, regardless of their nationality.
7) Terrorism, National Security & ISIS – 7%
— Puerto Rico en Serio (@PuertoRicoSerio) October 20, 2016
Terrorism and national security are critical concerns for all Americans. And it’s always worth remembering that more than 200,000 American citizens from Puerto Rico have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, serving in every conflict since World War I.
8) Crime & Safety – 5%
Credit: Human Rights Campaign/YouTube
Crime and safety have become key issues for candidates this election season, as well as a highly contentious social issue across the country. Not surprisingly, these are top-of-mind concerns for Latinos. Consider the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting that targeted LGBT+ Latinos and shook Orlando and the nation just five months ago. Puerto Ricans saw many of their own among the victims of one of the bloodiest mass shootings in U.S. history.
9) Government Corruption & Money In Politics – 4%
A photo posted by Institute For Policy Studies (@ips_dc) on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:58am PDT
Credit:Institute for Policy Studies/Instagram
Corruption and money in politics have plagued American democracy for decades, and Puerto Rico is no different.
Boricuas, Latinos, Americans! Make your voice heard by voting early (until November 6) or on November 8! Su voto es su voz! Learn more and find voting resources in Spanish and English at Que Vote Mi Gente.