Issue of the Century

Puerto Rico: All Banana, No Republic

August 31, 2016

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Ethnic pride in Spanish Harlem, N.Y.

Similarly, Puerto Rico’s public schools are amazingly horrible, but press coverage in America of Puerto Rico’s miserable test scores has been almost nonexistent. After all, it’s not really our country. And if you mention these hatestats you”€™ll probably get called racist. So, who cares? Not Puerto Ricans, apparently.

On both the 2011 and 2013 federal National Assessments of Educational Progress tests (in Spanish on tests carefully customized for Puerto Rico after federal officials couldn”€™t believe how badly Puerto Rican students were scoring), 95 percent of public school students in Puerto Rico performed at the Below Basic (i.e., bottom) level, versus 38 percent of Hispanic students on the mainland.

Among Puerto Rican eighth graders in 2015, the percentage scoring Below Basic in math improved from 95 percent to 94 percent.

Puerto Rico’s terrible school achievement test scores are no doubt partly the fault of its students. Jason Malloy at Human Varieties has presented a meta-analysis of over 70 IQ studies of Puerto Ricans on the island, the mainland, and in Hawaii over the past 95 years. Their intelligence scores have been consistently low, although trending upward. Among Puerto Ricans on the mainland:

The median IQ of 19 samples from the 1930s”€“1970s is 83.7. The median IQ of 14 samples from the 1980s”€“2000s is 87.4.

The rewards for being an intelligent Puerto Rican in the United States are hardly to be sneezed at. The genuinely clever Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer and star of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, may be the single most popular person in New York City at present.

But the NAEP scores in Puerto Rico are worse even than for Puerto Ricans in the U.S., suggesting that Puerto Rico’s school system deserves much blame.

Total public school spending in Puerto Rico per student is below the U.S. average, although higher than in Utah and Idaho. Puerto Rico pays its schoolteachers little while lavishing money on its school administrators, especially in the shifty-sounding categories of “€œOther Support Services”€ and “€œGeneral Administration.”€ Puerto Rico spends more per student on those categories than any state, trailing only the notoriously gold-plated District of Columbia school system.

In short, what the Puerto Rican nation needs is nationalism.

From the perspective of the Hillary Clinton campaign, however, the emptying out of Puerto Rico into Orlando, which is now a “€œde facto San Juan suburb,”€ is a feature, not a bug, since it helps tip Florida, the Electoral College’s most important purple state, permanently blue.

As Al Gore painfully discovered in 2000, the path to 270 electoral votes is much easier with Florida in your column. And even a small number of votes can determine who wins Florida’s 29 electoral votes and thus the White House.

Although Puerto Ricans were granted American citizenship in 1917 (in time to be drafted into the Great War), the island isn”€™t a state; therefore, it gets no electoral votes in presidential elections. But Puerto Ricans enjoy open borders with the United States and they can vote as soon as they settle in any state.

As Hillary Clinton recently reminded Puerto Ricans in a speech in the Orlando area:

If you live in Puerto Rico, you can”€™t vote for your president and Commander-in-Chief, right?… But as an American citizen, if you move to Florida or New York, you can vote for the president and Commander-in-Chief.

The Democrats”€™ intensive ground game in Orlando to register new arrivals from Puerto Rico isn”€™t controversial. After all, the Democrats”€™ grand strategy in the 21st century is for the government to elect a new people, while demonizing as hateful racists any Americans who dare object to politicians importing foreign ringers to win elections. Within that context, Hillary’s Puerto Rican ploy is among her less ethically challenged immigration stratagems.

A recent Pew Center poll found:

Hillary Clinton dominates among Hispanics”€”unless they”€™re English-speaking or American-born.

Pew noted:

Clinton holds an 80%”€“11% lead among Hispanic voters who are bilingual or Spanish-dominant (those who are more proficient in Spanish than English); these voters make up about 57% of all Latino registered voters. However, among the smaller group of Hispanic voters (43%) who are English-dominant”€”those who are more proficient in English than Spanish”€”just 48% back Clinton (41% would vote for Trump).

Of course, these days, Hispanics who don”€™t speak English, weren”€™t born in America, and might not, technically speaking, be legal voters are widely felt to possess the moral high ground over Hispanic voters tainted by being born here and speaking our national language.

Thus continues the transformation of Franklin’s American Republic into Puerto Rico Grande.

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