NYT: “An Exodus From Puerto Rico Could Remake Florida Politics”

Many NYT stories are 50% news story and 50% activist strategy session, with a topping of wish-fulfillment, and “An Exodus From Puerto Rico Could Remake Florida Politics” by Michael Tackett, which is about the exodus, post Hurricane Maria, of Puerto Ricans to Florida, is one such story:

There are more than a million Puerto Ricans in Florida, a number that has doubled since 2001, driven largely until now by a faltering economy. But their political powers have evolved slowly in this state, and the wave of potential voters from the island could quickly change that calculus.

If the estimates hold, and several officials said they might be low, the Puerto Rican vote, which has been strongly Democratic, could have rough parity with the Cuban vote in the state, for years a bulwark for Republicans in both state and national races.

“What’s clear is that this is going to be a more powerful swing group,” said Anthony Suarez, a lawyer here, who has run for office as both a Republican and a Democrat. “Just like everybody has to go to Miami and stop in Versailles to have coffee to court the Cuban community, that is going to start happening here.”…

Emily Bonilla, a Democratic county commissioner who was elected from a district that is 80 percent white, is working to provide services for the new arrivals, mindful that they may soon be her constituents. “Puerto Ricans are unique,” she said. “We support each other regardless of party, but no surprise, the majority become Democrats.”

Notice the presumption of identity bloc politics based on ethnicity being (for non-whites only, of course) natural and acceptable.

I cracked up at the 2nd paragraph of this passage:

Several of the activists were intrigued by Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he would try to wipe out Puerto Rico’s bloated public debt, but then others noted that other administration officials had quickly dismissed that idea. And they were unanimous in their criticism of Mr. Trump for waiting two weeks before visiting Puerto Rico and about his harsh remarks about the mayor of San Juan, whom he accused of “poor leadership.”

“That was horrible,” said Zoraida Rios-Andino. “He treated us like a third-world country.”

The NYT piece then goes into full political strategy session mode:

Ultimately, the impact Puerto Ricans have on politics will be up to people like Esteban Garces, state director of Mi Familia Vota, who has been working in the state since 2012 and said his group had registered more than 65,000 voters since then.

Puerto Ricans are American citizens by birth, so registering them is far easier than registering Latino immigrants. His organization has been building a network that will make it easier to register those who come from the island and declare Florida residency. “We have the capacity and the know-how to step up the scale,” Mr. Garces said.

“This is a defining moment,” he said. “Historically Cubans have always been thought of as the political powerhouse in Florida, but over the years their concentration has been decreasing. Now, there are almost more Puerto Ricans than Cubans, which will create a dynamic shift in how the Latino vote in Florida goes.”

It is too soon, he said, to push to register people as they arrive, many stricken by loss. But with a governor’s race next year, Mr. Garces is preparing to mobilize after the migrants have had time to settle in.

And the sooner white enclaves are eradicated and/or subsumed by nonwhite enclaves, the better it will be for all.

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