Puerto Rico spoke loud and clear last night, but did anyone listen?

Here's two things you might not know: One, there's a primary in Puerto Rico. Two, Marco Rubio won it. By a lot.

Yep, that's right. Last night, Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico's GOP primary in a landslide.

It's Rubio's first major victory and his second outright victory in the race so far. It earned him 23 delegates and put him marginally closer to potentially someday maybe posing some sort of actual threat to GOP powerhouse Donald Trump and hot-on-his-heels Ted Cruz.


Marco Rubio campaigning in South Carolina. Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images.

Why such a huge win for Rubio in Puerto Rico?

Rubio is the only GOP candidate to visit Puerto Rico so far, as well as the only one to openly support statehood for the U.S. territory.

For Puerto Ricans, this is a significant position to take. The island is over $70 billion in debt and has defaulted on debt payments twice. As Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla told CNN, "We're out of cash."

People protest outside Wall Street in New York against cutbacks and austerity measures forced on severely indebted Puerto Rico. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The tanking economy is causing a mass population exodus from the island to the mainland. Fewer Puerto Rican residents to pay taxes means more debt, and the whole crisis has been ominously referred to as a "death spiral."

If Puerto Rico gains statehood, it will be able to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy with federal protection, meaning the island could restructure its debts, negotiate in court with bondholders, and cover about a third of its debt.

If not, Puerto Rico and its citizens will remain in the economic crisis indefinitely.

Primaries are the only chance citizens of Puerto Rico get to make their voices heard — they aren't allowed to vote in the general election.

A 115-year-old Supreme Court decision (blasted by John Oliver last year) ensures that no U.S. territories are allowed to vote in the general election.

While Republicans in Puerto Rico voted clearly in favor of Rubio, assigning their delegates last night (as they will for the Democrats in June), this is really the only chance Puerto Rican citizens have to let politicians running for president know what's important to them.

A vacant building in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images.

Why would Rubio care about Puerto Rico if it can't help him win the general election?

Well, Florida has a population of over 1 million Puerto Ricans. Courting Puerto Rico helps Rubio secure the swing state's 99 delegates.

But frankly, Rubio doesn't have to worry too much about Florida. It's his home state, and pending another meltdown of epic proportions at the GOP debate on Wednesday, his win in Florida is all but clinched.

Rubio campaigning in Florida in 2010. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

It's pretty easy to make campaign promises to a population that doesn't vote in the general election.

Hillary Clinton promised Puerto Rico voting rights in 2008 and got 68% of the Democratic primary vote there. Mitt Romney promised statehood in 2012 and got 83% of the GOP primary vote that year.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño at Isla Grande Airport in San Juan in 2012 ahead of the Republican primary. Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images.

We never got to see whether either of their promises would come true, but Puerto Rico has consistently and overwhelmingly supported candidates who promise more representation, regardless of their political affiliation.

In this election cycle, candidates including Hillary Clinton have supported giving Puerto Rico bankruptcy protection, but only Rubio (and, formerly, Jeb! Bush) have campaigned in favor of full representation for Puerto Rico with a 51st star on the flag.

Will the next president be the one who finally recognizes Puerto Rico's primary votes for what they truly mean?

Or will the territory remain a stepping stone for politicians to use on their journey to more "important" political contests? Will 2016 be the year that Puerto Rico is rescued by the U.S. government? Or will our collective memory once again forget about the territory and its citizens until another candidate needs delegates in the next election cycle?

Last night, Puerto Rico was granted five minutes in a room with a nation that has a thousand other things on its to-do list. Its citizens spoke clearly once again — whether they're heard remains to be seen.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the weight of it growing heavier and heavier. We miss normal life. We miss our friends. We miss travel. We miss not having to mentally measure six feet everywhere we go.

Maybe that's what was on Edmund O'Leary's mind when he tweeted on Friday. Or maybe he had some personal issues or challenges he was dealing with. After all, it's not like people didn't struggle pre-COVID. Now, we just have the added stress of a pandemic on top of our normal mental and emotional upheavals.

Whatever it was, Edmund decided to reach out to Twitter and share what he was feeling.

"I am not ok," he wrote. "Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you."

O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

The subject of late-term abortions has been brought up repeatedly during this election season, with President Trump making the outrageous claim that Democrats are in favor of executing babies.

This message grossly misrepresents what late-term abortion actually is, as well as what pro-choice advocates are actually "in favor of." No one is in favor of someone having a specific medical procedure—that would require being involved in someone's individual medical care—but rather they are in favor of keeping the government out of decisions about specific medical procedures.

Pete Buttigieg, who has become a media surrogate for the Biden campaign—and quite an effective one at that—addressed this issue in a Fox News town hall when he was on the campaign trail himself. When Chris Wallace asked him directly about late-term abortions, Buttigieg answered Wallace's questions is the best way possible.

"Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?" Wallace asked.

Keep Reading Show less

When it comes to the topic of race, we all have questions. And sometimes, it honestly can be embarrassing to ask perfectly well-intentioned questions lest someone accuse you of being ignorant, or worse, racist, for simply admitting you don't know the answer.

America has a complicated history with race. For as long as we've been a country, our culture, politics and commerce have been structured in a way to deny our nation's past crimes, minimize the structural and systemic racism that still exists and make the entire discussion one that most people would rather simply not have.

For example, have you ever wondered what's really behind the term Black Pride? Is it an uplifting phrase for the Black community or a divisive term? Most people instinctively put the term "White Pride" in a negative context. Is there such a thing as non-racist, racial pride for white people? And while we're at it, what about Asian people, Native Americans, and so on?

Yes, a lot of people raise these questions with bad intent. But if you've ever genuinely wanted an answer, either for yourself or so that you best know how to handle the question when talking to someone with racist views, writer/director Michael McWhorter put together a short, simple and irrefutable video clip explaining why "White Pride" isn't a real thing, why "Black Pride" is and all the little details in between.


Keep Reading Show less