Puerto Rico to Hold Primary Instead of Caucuses June 1

Excellent news. Puerto Rico has decided against caucuses and in favor of a primary and moved the date up to June 1.

[Puerto Rico will] change the voting process from 8 caucuses to a primary with voting places in all 1,800+ barrios in Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities. This is done in light of the hundreds of thousands of Democrats expected to turn out on June 1, a late date in which we would have originally expected a pro-forma vote with low turnout.

Puerto Rico has 55 pledged delegates. The DNC has approved the move up to June 1. The last states will now be Montana and South Dakota, which vote on June 3.

Update [2008-3-7 10:15:21 by Big Tent Democrat]: I want to make one point about Puerto Rico that I think some folks are missing when predicting what will happen there. First it is not a winner take all contest. Nonetheless, I believe Hillary Clinton will run up big margins in Puerot Rico. As much as any jurisdiction in this contest, Puerto Rico has political machines for churning out the votes. There are no "new voters" for Obama to turn on. The political bosses turn out the vote. They are mostly with Clinton, especially the ones with the most powerful vote getting machines. The Governor of Puerto Rico, is not going to go all out for Obama and his machine is frankly, not as strong as others for THESE purposes. Puerto Rico will go Clinton 2-1 imo.

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    Great news indeed! (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by NJDem on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:35:59 PM EST
    So, BDT--are you going to tell us why the endorsement of the governor of PR is a bad thing for Obama.  Come on, give us the inside scoop! :)

    i suspect they took one look at (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:36:01 PM EST
    the disenfrachising fiascos that have been the caucuses to date and decided (wisely) they wanted no part of it.

    will it be a closed primary?

    Great news (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by facta non verba on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:38:53 PM EST
    for Clinton. Takes me back for my first campaign back in 1980 when I made four trips there for John Anderson. Then statehood was an issue, now I don't think so but I haven't followed Puerto Rican politics in a while. Surreal that they may decide the next President of the United States. Whodathunk it?

    The 51st State (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Coral Gables on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:52:35 PM EST
    Or so they will say when they announce their delegates, has more of a sense of democracy than many of the actual 50 states. Imagine, a primary where people can cast a ballot, one person one vote. Who knew it would be such a great idea.

    Great news (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by wasabi on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:14:02 AM EST
    After my experience and others in the texas caucus, I'd say voting in an election is the way to go.

    Fait accompli (1.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Arabiflora on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:47:34 AM EST
    The news story is presented without context or meaning: It reports that PR has changed it's selection date and format, but gives no explanation of WHY it did so.

    Could it be that the HRC campaign felt disadvantaged if the PR canvass was conducted in caucus format? If so (or even if not), please tell me who moved the levers of power to make this change? Such things don't just happen.

    Likewise with re: to MI and FL primaries/caucuses: Who had the bright idea to break the agreed-upon rules for scheduling state nominating contests?

    Could it have been at the instigation and with the support of the DLC and HRC campaign, as part of the Penn-mastered super-Tuesday strategy of preemptive coronation?

    Dean's denial to seat FL and MI delegates at the Dem party convention must suck for FL and MI dems on either side of the HRC/BHO divide, but... it is what it is. You takes yer money, you takes yer chances. The HRC/Mark Penn frontloading strategy failed her candidacy and it disenfranchised those voters. As important as it may be to 'enfranchise' those voters, it's equally important to acknowledge the means of their demise (hint: Obama had nothing to do with it).

    x (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:51:34 AM EST
    Hint: neither did Hillary Clinton. 2nd Hint: neither did the 1.7 million voters. 3rd Hint: Neither did the rest of the country, if they are going to be adversely affected in November by angry voters in FL and MI who jump to McCain. In other words, everything isn't always about what is best for Obama. What is best for the party and the voters should be the thing that is considered here.

    Really? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Arabiflora on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:21:54 AM EST
    If, as you contend, the HRC campaign had nothing to do with FL and MI jumping the schedule-- an extraordinary move, btw-- then please explain how that happened. My conjecture is that it was done at the behest of the Clinton campaign as part and parcel of their front-loading strategy.

    It backfired.

    The fact that 1.7 million voters turned out to vote in a nominating contest that wasn't actually contested and was known in advance as null and void speaks more to the absurdity of US electoral politics than to any good intentions of the voters. It should go without saying that, had FL and MI maintained a polling date beyond the Feb 5 line, that their voters would have had a particularly strong voice in this nominating process. But recall the mantra of Bill Clinton... something about people getting up in the morning, going to work... playing by the rules....

    Finally, let me point out that FL and MI voters, at least those who may have wished to weigh-in on the selection of Democratic nominee, have indeed been silenced in the course of the Democratic candidate nomination process. That's unfortunate and I wish it were not so. But surely those voters can make their way to the polling place come November and make their preference known?


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#17)
    by cdalygo on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:41:43 AM EST
    Let's go through this again.

    The decision to move up the FLA primary belongs to the Republican controlled legislature.

    Other states, including South Carolina, moved up their election but the DNC did not punish them.

    What worries many of us that these voters will let their feelings be known in November by choosing McCain. After all why should they have loyalty toward a Party that disenfranchised them.


    My understanding... (none / 0) (#20)
    by K Lynne on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 06:45:12 AM EST
    ...was simply that MI and FL wanted to have a little more say in the process; to force the candidates to pay them some attention rather than to be ignored in the end after the decision had been made.  Which is EXACTLY what happened for the Repubs.  Florida ended up being the 'kingmaker' for McCain - forcing Giuliani out of the race and effectively handing NY / NJ to McCain.  Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well for the Dems...

    Geez, I thought the tinfoil-hat brigade was kept safely over that that orange place.  That's why I'm here, for the most part - because the discussions are reasonable and tend to avoid the conspiracy theories.

    -K Lynne


    Hillary controls the weather too!!!! (none / 0) (#29)
    by kenosharick on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:35:55 AM EST
    Consider another, more benign possibility (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by diplomatic on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:16:02 AM EST
    Maybe the Puerto Rican government officials and Democratic Party associates did not want to have a MESS on their hands with unflattering headlines of chaos, bullying, vandalism, fraud, etc like those we are seeing coming out of Texas.

    The media would just eat that kind of fiasco with a spoon, especially if it happens in Puerto Rico.  They will use it to frame the Democratic Party as completely in disarray and report on it just like they did with Florida and the chads.  The image of Puerto Rico has had its ups and down and the last thing the people there would want is to have a mess on their hands that ends up deciding who the potential President of the United States will be.

    Besides, one thing that has become evident during this process is that primaries are just the more fair and inclusive option.


    Fair enough... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Arabiflora on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:36:57 AM EST
    Your hypothesis of PR gov't hoping to avoid the messy logistics of a caucus is presently as well-supported as mine (that the change was motivated/engineered by the HRC campaign, DLC, etc).

    I still maintain that such late changes in nomination format-- and contest date-- do not come about on a whim or by accident, and the news available provides no clues as to why this change in PR nominating process has come about at this very pivotal time.


    The truth... (none / 0) (#18)
    by sumac on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:13:16 AM EST
    Obama's campaign secretly organized the switch so that they could blame Hillary for her devious machinations. My theory is as well supported as those aforementioned.


    I will not be hurt if this post is deleted.


    Please provide proof that Hillary's campaign (none / 0) (#32)
    by Angel on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:03:45 AM EST
    had ANYTHING to do with the Puerto Rico change.  You can't.  So please stop with the nonsense.

    Sarcasm (none / 0) (#49)
    by sumac on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:09:13 PM EST
    I was using it. :)

    I suspect (none / 0) (#39)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:33:48 AM EST
    that Texas sent them over the edge.

    The thuggish behavior and potential for cheating was absolutely unreal.


    Both sides looked bad in TX (none / 0) (#47)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:39:29 AM EST
    Yeah neither side really distinguished themselves in Texas.

    Or could it be just what is given (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:25:32 AM EST
    as the reason, that it is clear with the turnout this time that the caucus sites will not be sufficient? Do you understand (or did you bother to look this up, which takes less time than to type your post) that Puerto Rico has a population of 4 MILLION? This is not some insignicant little isle. And it looks like an intelligent isle, far more so than the state of Texas -- as it was clear some months ago to some of us reading caucus coverage, and one would think to pols, that it was past time to make caucuses a thing of the past. Good for Puerto Rico. Show the caucus states how elections are done in a democracy.

    Uh, before BTD corrects me (none / 0) (#15)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:28:31 AM EST
    Of course, I should have more correctly said that Puerto Rico is a significant collection of several islas.:-)

    It gives two reasons ... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 07:00:09 AM EST
    a rules issue (must be the first Sunday), and the size of the expected turnout.

    Those are two clear reasons why they changed the date and format of the contest.


    Once again, a person speaks who (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Marguerite Quantaine on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 07:34:01 AM EST
    doesn't know the Florida details.

    Howard Dean told Florida Democrats we could not change our primary date.

    We did NOT change our primary date.

    Republican Governor Charlie Crist and our Republican Legislature changed the primary date over the protest of Democrats.

    Howard Dean disenfranchised Florida Democrats for what the Republicans did.

    Dean's decision provided power to the Republicans to create the perfect storm in this campaign.

    No Democrats campaigned in Florida.

    All candidates were put on the ballot.

    Record turnouts in Florida set the pace for the rest of the nation to do the same.

    Ergo, the Florida vote should be counted.

    Florida Democrats did not break the rules. We did everything according to the rules.

    It's time the Democratic leaders from other states stepped up to the plate to demand Florida be counted.

    And it's time the media told the truth about this matter. And bloggers get the facts right,

    We can only hope.


    Absolutely correct (none / 0) (#24)
    by Salt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 07:55:19 AM EST
    I believe CNN did get it roughly right last evening for a change.  But as for the rest, denial is a defense mechanism, only if Hillary lost the vote would they then repeat events as they happened. As for Mich, I belive the vote should stand but I really question the wisdom of a caucuses not because Senator Clinton cant win them I believe that is over, they will have observers at every site and a ground game, but the rhetoric has become aggressively heated and any additional behavior that intimidates voters will reflect very poorly on the Party and no doubt there will be video if anything were to happen, mail in is a better solution this blunder has done enough damage divided enough Dems.

    "Roughly right" is like being (none / 0) (#45)
    by Marguerite Quantaine on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:17:52 AM EST
    a "little" pregnant, and anyone who supports the media for being less than accurate and forthright is part of the problem, not the solution.

    As for denial, he who name calls is usually the one most deserving of the name being called.

    I'm not a Michigander and I don't try to make their case.

    I am a Floridian. I am an informed voter. I know what's going on here.

    So don't scorn anyone from Florida trying to get the rest of this country to understand what's happened.

    Because it doesn't become you, and it isn't about me.

    Instead of "super delegates" jumping the gun to get their name above the fold for a 10 second photo-op in the annals of history, they should be banding together to get Florida counted based on the facts.


    No scorn intended (none / 0) (#46)
    by Salt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:36:15 AM EST
    my schock was a cable outlet even attempting an accurate report.  I am in complete agreement with your position and your facts.

    This is stupid (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ChrisO on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:01:12 AM EST
    "It reports that PR has changed it's selection date and format, but gives no explanation of WHY it did so."

    Do you know how links work? This is right in the story, which is all of about two paragraphs long:

    "This is done in light of the hundreds of thousands of Democrats expected to turn out on June 1, a late date in which we would have originally expected a pro-forma vote with low turnout." That's what's known as an explanation.

    And it's really tiresome to read posts by people who are pulling crackpot theories out of their asses, then insisting that people disprove them. There were a lot of states in the mix, trying to move up their primaries. It was widely reported. Some states were bullied into holding off. There is not a scintilla of evidence that the Clinton campaign had anything to do with it, and this kind of "how do we know they didn't" stuff is just throwing crap at the wall. You may have noticed that Dean has done nothing to help Hillary in this situation, which might be expected if he was conspiring with her.

    I can't believe I just took the time to respond to this post.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Coral Gables on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:25:59 AM EST
    Who had the bright idea to break the agreed-upon rules for scheduling state nominating contests? Could it have been at the instigation and with the support of the DLC and HRC campaign, as part of the Penn-mastered super-Tuesday strategy...

    Your answer would be a GOP governor and a GOP legislative body in Florida. This really isn't rocket science at this point. It's hard to believe people still speculate on it. The grassy knoll theorists need to take a nap and wake up in December.


    Two things one serious the other Snark (none / 0) (#19)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 05:16:32 AM EST
    I was surprised when I first heard of them running a Caucus in PR since traditionally primaries have been held there.  They by nature have to be open because in PR you don't register in National (Democratic or Republican) parties.  In PR you register as either a member of PNP (Pro-Statehood) PPD (Pro-Status quo) PIP (Pro-Independence) or no preference.  I heard there is a fourth party now.


    Darn now I wont be able to go to PR and watch the Fights. :(


    is a Hillary supporter but the vote was unanimous.

    What is a more interesting question is who will pay for it. I think the Commonwealth.


    BTD is the expert on this (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:51:42 PM EST
    but he hasn't written about it yet, I'm hoping he will.

    Perhaps you will persuade (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:44:17 AM EST
    him to do so.  

    I think he'll write on it when he's ready and (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:00:33 AM EST
    I don't have those kind of persuasive powers.

    Funny. Guess we'll (none / 0) (#59)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 05:25:40 PM EST
    just wait.

    Voter Power (none / 0) (#23)
    by Salt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 07:40:53 AM EST
    Hmmm, good move I'm impressed any other remaining States that have the undemocratic caucuses still planned?  

    The DNC approved the date switch (none / 0) (#25)
    by ding7777 on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 07:55:24 AM EST
    but did the DNC approve the caucus to primary switch, also(the article doesn't really say)

    Isn't BTD there right now? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:06:46 AM EST
    I just wouldn't want to have to deal with his constant lawyering either.  It must be exhausting ;p

    I am in Florida right now (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:05:26 AM EST
    I split my time between Puerto Rico, florida and New York now.

    Thanks for still finding the time to blog (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:52:16 AM EST
    I'd be sort of bereft without you.

    Winner take all (none / 0) (#28)
    by NYMARJ on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:12:39 AM EST
    Had read a while ago that the Puerto Rico voting rules called for the winner to get all the delegates allocated - is that true?  Has that been changed? Will the primary be winner take all?

    I understand (none / 0) (#30)
    by sas on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:36:02 AM EST
    that Puerto Rico is winner take all, the only Democratic primary/caucus to be so.

    Not winner take all (none / 0) (#31)
    by Coral Gables on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:51:16 AM EST
    Contrary to recent media reports, Puerto Rico's delegates are
    awarded on a proportional basis.
    SOURCE Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
    However, It has been known to happen in the past that all of Puerto Rico's delegates are given to one candidate based on the control of the Governor.

    My DD has a post up saying this will be a (none / 0) (#35)
    by Angel on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:12:35 AM EST
    closely contested race and that is is NOT a goldmine for either candidate.  

    MYDD is wrong (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:25:47 AM EST

    Should I not read him anymore? I've seen him (none / 0) (#37)
    by Angel on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:27:21 AM EST
    referenced here (in fact, you once told me to ask Jerome for some particular piece of information).  Should I just take his stuff with a grain of salt?  Thanks.

    No (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:32:27 AM EST
    He is just wrong on this IMO. I could be the one who is wrong.

    I like your honesty. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Angel on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:34:10 AM EST
    Jerome (none / 0) (#44)
    by americanincanada on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:09:14 AM EST
    is not the one who wrote the post about PR, Todd did.

    I was already over there and told him myself (none / 0) (#53)
    by diplomatic on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:47:58 PM EST
    Obama endrosed the status quo (none / 0) (#41)
    by Saul on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:34:18 AM EST
    in Puerto Rico, according to some PR newspapers. He went there for a fund raiser, did not talk to reporters and left, but stayed neutral on the biggest issue that divides the populace, statehood vs colony.  If he is the candidate of change then he should have supported statehood.  To be a colony means you got to have a master,  you can vote for the nominee but you cannot vote in the general election, during the military draft years you had to participate but you could not have any say on who your commander in chief would be.  Not standing up for all these injustices seems so anti Obama philosophy.  As one PR said " That's like a Latino presidential candidate going to the southern states and asking for support yet staying neutral on segregation. You got to take a stance IMO

    Most people like the status quo there (none / 0) (#52)
    by diplomatic on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:47:01 PM EST
    Time and time again, Puerto Ricans have decided to remain a Commonwealth when voting in plebiscites to determine the status.

    Statehood always comes in a close 2nd and Independence is hardly a blip.


    Statehood vs Colony almost 50 50 (none / 0) (#57)
    by Saul on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 03:41:06 PM EST
    The last vote in 1998 put that choice almost split down the middle.  46.5 for it 50.2 for none of the above.  These figures do not support that most people like the status quo.  I don't consider a 4 percent difference  synonymous with most.  McClintock Hernandez, president of the PR Senate who supports statehood, said voters rejected it in the 1998 referendum because it was "a glorified opinion poll" and lacked authority. A vote with a congressional stamp of approval would draw a higher turnout and a more serious discussion, he said.

    My post was accurate (none / 0) (#58)
    by diplomatic on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 04:58:29 PM EST
    Your response really went nowhere.  Commonwealth has indeed won every vote and statehood a "close" second as I stated.

    A majority voting for status quo does indeed mean most people like the status quo.  This is basic logic and I don't even know why I'm having to explain it to you.


    Ay bendito Mijoh (none / 0) (#43)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:04:08 AM EST
    Whoever though that you could do it with 8 Caucus centers in PR was either under the influence of something or didn't live in PR : )   BTD might know about what I'm going to say, but my house in PR is in Barrio Resbalon of Cayey which if you asked for directions in the City of Cayey they would say go up to Jajome Alto and then go up some more.  Where would they expect me to go to caucus Ponce, San Juan, Bayamon????  also what about my neighbors which depend on rides or on what we call Publicos to get down from the hills.  

    PR caucus (none / 0) (#48)
    by Coral Gables on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:50:55 AM EST
    It was a caucus in the past and never mattered. The nominee was always chosen before PR voted, so they never needed space and the Governor would just grant all delegates to the nominee of the party after the caucus to show unity.

    Stealing a bad line from the Major League Baseball All Star Game..."This Year It Counts"


    Excuse me but (none / 0) (#56)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 03:07:05 PM EST
    when did the "Primarias Presidenciales" become a caucus.  They didn't have caucuses when I lived there.  Heck one of the biggest gripes by the Independentistas was that the electoral board shouldn''t be paying for US primaries.

    Can PR's vote for POTUS? (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:46:28 PM EST
    I've read not.

    (I hope it's OK to use "PR" now, it was not acceptable when I was a child)

    Yes they sure can, on the mainland (none / 0) (#51)
    by diplomatic on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:44:26 PM EST
    As long as you are residing in any of the 50 states, a Puerto Rican is 100% like any other U.S. citizen  and can vote for President.

    The restriction is only for Puerto Ricans living on the island itself.


    Yes, I meant on the island. (none / 0) (#54)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:54:58 PM EST
    So PR participates in the primary, but not a GE?

    not just puertoricans if (none / 0) (#55)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 03:01:28 PM EST
    like my Parents you moved to PR and established residence there you lost the ability to vote in presidential elections.  If you maintain your state's residency you can then apply for an absentee ballot.