Spain ceded Puerto Rico to America in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, and Congress in 1917 made Puerto Ricans American citizens. The Democratic and Republican parties include Puerto Rico in their primaries, but under the U.S. Constitution only the 50 states and the District of Columbia are entitled to choose electors in the presidential election. That means a Puerto Rican living on the island can’t vote in November, but if they live on the mainland they can. And Puerto Rican turnout on the mainland is nowhere near what it is in Puerto Rico.
As Caputo and Smith demonstrated, “Hispanic voters” are far more complicated than the mythical generic Hispanics often invoked in media stories. That type of reporting is as silly as doing a story about “European American” voters. The media can do better in explaining the complexities of this swing state’s Hispanic community. Caputo and Smith deserve credit for raising the bar with their recent pieces.
Correction: The sub-hed of this article originally referred to the Tampa Bay Tribune when the article in question, in fact, appeared in the Tampa Bay Times. CJR regrets the error.