U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico can’t vote in the general election, but their votes in the primaries can still help Marco Rubio win the Republican nomination. For decades, both Democratic and Republican parties have allowed citizens (including prison inmates) to participate in the primaries during election year to help select party nominees.
The island nation was the first U.S. commonwealth to gain citizenship in 1917. However, the native islanders haven’t shared the same voting rights as U.S. citizens living on the mainland since the territory was acquired from Spain in the early 20th century. Given the island’s controversial political history, oblivious citizens still doubt that votes from native Puerto Ricans matter. Contrary to popular belief, they do actually count in the end.
Because he won the primary, Rubio received all 23 of Puerto Rico’s delegates, which add up to the same amount of delegates his opponent Sen. Ted Cruz won in states like Maine. His latest victory can also help the Cuban candidate win his home state during the upcoming Florida primaries.
While the influence of die-hard Republican Cubans remains strong in Florida, Puerto Ricans make up a grand portion of the voting bloc in Florida. Since Boricuas on the island have a great impact on the growing Florida community, there could still be hope for Rubio to successfully complete his journey to obtain the presidential nomination from the Republican National Convention.
As Rubio supporters rejoice in his victory, Twitter trolls get to airing out their frustrations while condemning the votes of his “amigos in Puerto Rico.”
Spanish is not a “foreign language” in Puerto Rico https://t.co/QHmBBgEJxb
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) March 7, 2016
I wouldn’t get too excited about Rubio’s performance in Puerto Rico. They only voted for him because he promised them amnesty & citizenship.
— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) March 6, 2016
What happens in a GE when your amigos in Puerto Rico can’t vote for you? Stop kidding yourself, little guy. https://t.co/O9O6SFMt34
— Michelle (@mishibelle) March 7, 2016
Puerto Rico is so LOST. If they voted that heavy for little Marco because he’s Cuban then they should be ashamed… pic.twitter.com/Lygq0Jlz9s
— oregon4TRUMP (@shawgerald4) March 6, 2016
— Blaine Leipold (@Bleipold1) March 6, 2016