The myth about Puerto Rican statehood that won't go away
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This week marks the 103-year anniversary of the enactment of the Jones-Shafroth Act - a law providing Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship.

In practice this means that 3.4 million of our fellow citizens have been denied a democratic form of government for more than a century and are voiceless in Washington even though they pay federal taxes and have served in every major U.S. military engagement since World War I.

This solemn anniversary should compel Washington lawmakers to act.


Unfortunately, some of my fellow Republicans oppose statehood because they are convinced that it will result in a huge political windfall for the Democratic Party in the U.S. Congress.

I disagree.

For proof, it’s worth remembering what political pundits and the chattering class said about President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE in 2016: Latinos will simply not vote for a candidate who talks openly about securing the border and deportation. But by the time election results surfaced, President-elect Trump had performed better with Latinos than Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan Five examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Romney: Total figure for Biden coronavirus stimulus is 'pretty shocking' MORE in 2012, capturing close to 30 percent of the vote.

Writing it off as a fluke, the same political class predicted that Latino support for President Trump would wane once he was in office. But just like last time, they were wrong.

Today recent polling reveals that President Trump is likely to win anywhere between 25-30 percent of the Latino vote in this November’s presidential election. And with a historic-low Latino unemployment rate and the presidential campaign’s planning a significant investment in Latino outreach, it is entirely plausible to imagine President Trump winning 35 percent of the vote.


The point here is that Latino voting patterns are not predictable.

Puerto Rico is no different.

For starters, Jenniffer Gonzalez-ColonJenniffer Aydin Gonzalez ColonStatehood for Puerto Rico and the obstruction of justice The myth about Puerto Rican statehood that won't go away Chef José Andrés activates charity to serve meals in Puerto Rico after earthquake MORE, the current Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico and the lone representative from the territory to the U.S. Congress is a member of the Republican Party. It is reasonable to conclude that she would assume one of the island’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.

Additionally, it’s worth remembering that Puerto Ricans are typically more social conservatives than Democrats in the mainland with one poll finding that Puerto Rican voters in Florida support traditional marriage. Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. territory have been known to vote for Republicans in years past, including former Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño.

Politics aside, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle should support statehood because the people of Puerto Rico want it. Just a few years ago, an overwhelming majority of Puerto Rican citizens voted for statehood. With nearly all of the precincts reporting, 97 percent of the ballots cast were in favor of statehood.

The good news is that more and more Republicans and conservatives are realizing that it is wrong to oppose Puerto Rican statehood based on the myth that it will result in a political windfall for the Democratic Party.

They include lawmakers like Florida Republican Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Rubio: Trump impeachment trial is 'stupid' The Memo: Biden gambles that he can do it all MORE and Rick Scott who have expressed support for Puerto Rican statehood. And just a couple of years ago, nearly two dozen Republican House members co-sponsored Puerto Rican statehood legislation including Reps. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonTop Republican congressional aide resigns, rips GOP lawmakers who objected to Biden win READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results South Carolina governor's wife tests positive for coronavirus MORE (S.C.), Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersWashington Republican reverses, says she won't object to Electoral College vote McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Westerman tapped as top Republican on House Natural Resources Committee | McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce | EPA joins conservative social network Parler MORE (Wash.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikLincoln Project hits Stefanik in new ad over support for Trump Wyoming county votes to censure Liz Cheney for Trump impeachment vote Stefanik knocks Albany newspaper over 'childless' characterization MORE (N.Y.).

It’s time other Republicans on Capitol Hill join them. The party of Lincoln should reject the notion that our ideas have limited appeal. Let’s instead look at Puerto Rican statehood as an opportunity to grow our conservative movement. And in the process, we can support federalism, democratic government and self-governance.

Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo is a Republican consultant and the host and executive producer of Battleground, and La Politica on Americano TV.