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Think the Latino Vote Matters? It Does and Latinos are Ready to Vote this Election, Here’s Why

It’s true, unfortunately, that many Latinos have given two flying sh*ts about presidential elections in the past. HOWEVER, this time around many more Latinos are paying attention.

You gotta give it to Donald Trump for calling Latinos “rapists” because that little comment garnered the attention of many Latinos. A Latino Decisions poll for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) found that 2 out of 5 Latinos are watching this election more closely than compared to the last election. That’s 43 percent of the Latinos polled… and that’s a whole lot more.

It’s a fact that many Latinos are disappointed with Obama’s immigration reform, or lack thereof, and are now looking for a candidate that offers a concrete plan — that’s definitely NOT Donald Trump — which would mean better jobs and a better socioeconomic status.

“It’s a time when we know that Latinos are beginning to pay a lot more attention – they are focused on the economy and jobs and what’s happening to them financially,” said Erika Rodriguez, VP of NCLR.

If this much attention would translate into votes, the sleeping giant would no longer be sleeping.

READ: How Other Candidates Rate on the Trump Hate-Scale

Learn more about Latinos at the polls here.

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Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

Fierce

Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

More than one year after former Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was ousted after a Telegram scandal, the people of the Caribbean archipelago have voted for a new leader – but ballots in the crowded election are still being counted.

Puerto Rico’s gubernatorial race looks similar to the U.S. presidential election: two leading male candidates neck-and-neck.

Unlike President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, however, the leading Puerto Rican contenders, Pedro Pierluisi and Carlos Delgado Altieri, are both Democrats. What drastically separates the two candidates are their local political parties: Pierluisi is the nominee of the New Progressive Party (PNP), which advocates for statehood, and Delgado Altieri is the pick of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which wants to continue as a commonwealth of the United States with limited self-government.

With 95% of polling stations reporting, the latest numbers put Pierluisi, at 32.4%, ahead of Delgado Altieri, who has 31.4% of the votes.

While ballots are still being counted, Pierluisi, an attorney and lobbyist, declared himself a winner on Tuesday night during a victory party.

Delgado Altieri, the former mayor of the northwestern municipality of Isabela and current president of the PPD, called the declaration “irresponsible” and noted that all the votes need to be tallied. If their difference reaches less than half a percentage point, there would be an automatic recount, Bloomberg reports.

Overall, Puerto Rican candidates faced a dwindling voter base. According to U.S. News & World Report, eligible voters dropped from 2.87 million in 2016 to 2.36 million in 2020, largely due to emigration following multiple economic and climate crises. Even more, with a voter turnout of 51.32%, compared to 55% in 2016, voter participation is also down, likely due to a distrust in Puerto Rican government amid back-to-back political scandals. 

Regardless of which candidate wins, the election is a historic one.

It’s the first time in recent history that either of Puerto Rico’s two main parties failed to secure more than 40% of the overall vote. Puerto Ricans, largely young voters who grew up amid a financial crisis that has since been compounded by the disastrous Hurricane María as well as recent earthquakes, have found themselves disillusioned by both the PNP and PPD parties and have voted in significant numbers for pro-independence and new party candidates. Alexandra Lugaro of the Citizens’ Victory Movement and Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rico Independence Party have received 15% and 14% of the vote, respectively. It’s the first time since the 1950s that pro-independence parties have reached double-digit support.

Puerto Rico-based journalist and political analyst Jonathan Lebron-Ayala told NPR that rebuilding a decimated Puerto Rico has motivated many young islanders to think outside of the archipelago’s two-party system. “We’re going to see a major change not in this election but maybe into 2024 or 2028 because the numbers in the general demographics with these two old parties are very, very weak,” Lebron-Ayala said. 

In addition to the general election on Tuesday, Puerto Rican voters were also presented with a nonbinding referendum that asked, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?”

While more than 52% said yes, it must be noted that many Puerto Ricans, understanding that the referendum holds no weight, skip the question altogether. U.S. Congress would have to approve of any changes to Puerto Rico’s political status.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico cannot vote in the presidential election and does not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress.

However, Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, which is a non-voting congressional representative, won a second term on Tuesday night. The pro-Trump, pro-statehood González is a long-time supporter of Pierluisi. 

Pierluisi, who formerly held the resident commissioner seat, briefly served as governor following Rosselló’s resignation last year. Rosselló, who is a member of the same party as Pierluisi, named the 2020 contender as the next governor without him being confirmed by both the House and the Senate as secretary of state. Pierluisi took office on August 2, 2019, but was removed days later on August 7 after the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds. 

The unelected Wanda Vázquez Garced, a former secretary of justice who is also a member of the same PPD party, has served as governor since. In August, Vázquez lost the pro-statehood nomination to Pierluisi. 

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Ricky Martin Says That It Is ‘Super Sad’ For Him To See Latinos Voting for Donald Trump

Entertainment

Ricky Martin Says That It Is ‘Super Sad’ For Him To See Latinos Voting for Donald Trump

Drew Angerer / Getty

Ricky Martin says when it comes to the Latino support of Joe Biden for president, voters bang. He also says those who are voting for Donald Trump completely bomb.

In an interview with The Big Ticket podcast, the “Livin La Vida Loca” singer highlighted the importance of voter turnout and laid out his reasons for giving former Vice President Joe Biden his own vote.

Speaking to The Big Ticket, Martin underlined his efforts to see change this year.

“I’ve been supporting Biden forever,” the singer shared on the podcast. “I think he is the only option we have and he is great. He has been in politics all his life. This is the moment. We all need to get together and be loud about the course of this nation.” For Martin, it seems that the backing of Biden by the Latino community is especially important and seeing anything less is something he truly cannot understand. Martin went so far as to highlight his disbelief in seeing Wanda Vázquez, the current governor of Puerto Rico, endorsing Trump this year.

“Who is that? Next!” he exclaimed during the podcast. “She doesn’t even exist. She wasn’t even elected by the people. She’s not part of this conversation.”

Trump went onto call Latinos in the United States who support Trump “really scary.”

When asked about Latinos in the United States who support Trump, Martin said it’s “really scary” to see but he remains positive that the majority of Latinos will vote him out of office.

“It’s really scary,” he said, before commenting that he does think that the majority of Latinos will vote for Biden. “It’s super sad. I think. Trumpeters make a lot of noise. And it’s scary to see their enthusiasm but us, we’re doing what’s right, the right way and we’ll see what happens in November. But I’m very optimistic.”

“I am a Latino, gay, married to an Arab living in Trump’s America,” he said about his husband Jwan Yosef, a Syrian-born, Swedish painter Marin married in 2017. “We check all the boxes.”

Martin’s comments come at a time when Trump continues to receive support from Cubans in Florida.

The battleground state has seen Cuban Americans, who often vote Republican, make last-ditch efforts to reelect Trump. “Florida’s Cuban American voters remain a bright spot in Trump’s effort to retain his winning coalition from 2016,” ABC reported. “Polls show his strong support from these key voters may even be growing to include the younger Cuban Americans that Democrats once considered their best hope of breaking the GOP’s hold. For Trump, that support could prove essential in a tight race in a state he must win to beat Democratic challenger Joe Biden.”

Referring to the increase in early voters this year, Martin says he’s happy to see voters turning out. “For that, I’m extremely happy,” he explained. “We’ve had plans of if we might leave the country. No, we have to stay here and fight for our rights and for what we believe.”

You can check out Martin’s full interview with The Big Ticket on Nov. 3.

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