According to the latest polls, Bernie Sanders has surpassed Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire: he now leads Clinton 44% to 37% among likely Democratic voters.
Also over the past week, Senator Sanders drew overflow crowds in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles – over 50,000 people at the two events – and a wave of support is building on Facebook and Twitter.
And so, just like eight years ago, Hillary Clinton stands at a career crossroad: a few specific factors will make or break her presidential campaign. One of these factors will be the Puerto Rican vote.
For the past few decades, US presidential candidates have patronized the Puerto Rican people. They simply visit the island for a day or two, say a few Spanish words, throw a quick fundraiser, then hurry back to the mainland.
But this year is different. This year, Puerto Rico is in great trouble.
There is a very clear test for Hillary Clinton this year. If she passes the test, she deserves our vote. If she doesn’t, we should vote for Bernie Sanders.
The test is very simple.
Hillary Clinton has to demand Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection for Puerto Rico – and Puerto Rico needs to get it – before the presidential election, and before the Democratic primaries.
It is that simple, and that brutal: unless and until Puerto Rico gets complete Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, Puerto Ricans need to vote for Bernie Sanders, in primary after primary.
Because after the election is too late. After the election, a politician’s promises usually disappear.
Portrait of a political promise
Hillary needs to use her behind-the-scenes influence now, and deliver this desperately-needed lifeline to the Puerto Rican economy.
If Hillary doesn’t deliver this now, then she is simply confirming the growing rumor: that the Democratic Party wants Puerto Rico to fail, so that more Puerto Ricans move to Florida, and vote “Democrat” in the 2016 election.
The most critical primary of all, where Puerto Ricans can demonstrate their seriousness and strength, is the Florida primary. There are currently 700,000 Puerto Ricans in Orlando, and one million throughout the entire state. One million voters is a lot of political leverage.
It is time for Puerto Ricans to stop being used as puppets: by the Democratic Party, or by anyone.
If Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party allow Puerto Rico to sink into the ocean, then it’s time to vote for someone else.
On March 15, 2016 (the date of the Florida primary) every Puerto Rican should vote as follows:
HILLARY CLINTON – if Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection is officially in place for Puerto Rico.
BERNIE SANDERS – if Chapter 9 is still “in committee” or “under discussion.”