Voting In The Midterms Is So Important In 2018

Voting In The Midterms Is So Important In 2018

Your voice matters more than you know.

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This midterm election will be my second time voting in my lifetime and I can express that the second time around is far different from what it was like two years ago in the national election. There's such a huge divide in our country, our states, even our own neighborhoods. The political climate has reached a new high as of late. And one thing that has been happening under our noses voter suppression in several states, including my home state of Georgia.

The sabotage overvotes have made the news and it has people on their feet and running to the polls. People being ineligible to vote due to not voting in the last election, early votes not being counted, counties being cut off from voting polls due to "distance qualifications". This isn't just a vote for who's going to be our next governor. We're voting for our senators, legislation, tax cuts and breaks. The main priority is who do you think will be better for your state and represent for the country? Who has your best interests in their views? Immigration, LGBTQ Rights, Healthcare, State Taxes, Gender Equality. These are some of the concerns that voters have the want answered with a plan and efficient solution

I'm telling you to go vote a certain party or certain candidate. I won't tell you to vote blue or red. I'm telling you that your voice has power and your vote has the power to change.

See you on Tuesday!!

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A Definitive Pro-Con List For Admitting Puerto Rico In As Our 51st State

Second class citizens seeking statehood.
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A prize of the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898. Since then, the island has voted in five non-binding referendums, determining the fate of the island. However, in a decisive referendum yesterday, 97 percent of Puerto Ricans voted 'yes' to becoming America's 51st state. This decision comes a few weeks after Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy, owing creditors over $70 billion.

However, with a voter turnout of 23 percent, as opposed to the island's regular 80 percent participation, critics question the validity of the election. They attribute the landslide decision to opposition parties (those in favor of independence or remaining a U.S. territory) boycotting the election.

Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo A. Rosselló, is now working on drafting a commission to ensure that Congress admits Puerto Rico into the union. However, former Governor, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, said in an interview, "A 97 percent win is the kind of result you get in a one-party regime... Washington will laugh in their faces."

With a Republican majority in Congress, however, it is unlikely that Congress will accept Puerto Rico's request for statehood since Puerto Ricans tend to favor Democrats.

Should Puerto Rico become a State?

Thanks to the Jones Act of 1917, being born in Puerto Rico is tantamount to being born in the U.S. That is, Puerto Ricans are born U.S. citizens. However, many Puerto Ricans believe they are treated as second-class citizens as they are not entitled to the same rights U.S. citizens born within the 50 states are.

Despite their citizenship, Puerto Ricans are still unable to vote for the President of the United States and are only entitled to one congressional representative, a non-voting member of the House, even though they are under U.S. sovereignty (internal affairs are decided by the Puerto Rican government). They also receive limited federal funding for programs such as Medicaid, but are exempt from the U.S. federal income tax, though Puerto Ricans still pay Social Security and Medicare as well as local taxes.



Benefits to Granting Puerto Rico Statehood


1. Improved quality of life for Puerto Ricans

Puerto Rico has an unemployment rate of 11.5 percent as of April 2017 and about some 46 percent of people live below the poverty line. By incorporating it into the U.S., Puerto Ricans can reap some of the benefits associated with being a state, such has an additional $20 billion in federal funds each year.

2. Improved health care for Puerto Ricans

According to one estimate, Puerto Rico loses a doctor a day, creating a health crisis on the island. This is in part due to the fact that Medicare reimburses doctors in Puerto Rico far less than doctors working in the U.S. Additionally, despite the fact that Puerto Ricans pay the same Social Security and Medicare taxes as us, they receive significantly less federal funding for health care. Gaining statehood will entitle Puerto Ricans to more funding, alleviating their current health care crisis.


3. Provides more job opportunities for Puerto Ricans

In the last decade, Puerto Rico has lost about 10 percent of their population to mainland U.S. The best and the brightest have left the island in search of better employment opportunities here. This, in turn, has caused remaining Puerto Ricans to pick up the slack. Supporters of statehood cite Hawaii as a precedent since it saw noticeable economic growth after it was made a state in 1959.

4. Allows Puerto Ricans to have a say in laws that affect them

Although Puerto Rico is self-governing, the U.S. ultimately controls Puerto Rico's external affairs (things like trade, immigration, and international relations) as well as federal regulation (like currency, highways, and social security). However, with only one non-voting representative in the House, Puerto Ricans have no say in determining the laws that govern them. Statehood would grant representation to Puerto Rico through two Senators and five House Representatives.

5. Gives Puerto Ricans the right to vote

Although Puerto Ricans are allowed to vote in the primary, they are ineligible to vote in the presidential election. Since laws and statutes passed in the U.S. are applied in Puerto Rico, making Puerto Rico a state would give them the right to vote on things that impact them. Also, since the President of the United States is also the Head of State in Puerto Rico, statehood would allow Puerto Ricans to decide who they want to lead them.


6. Increases tax revenues for the U.S.

As a state, Puerto Rico would be required to pay federal taxes, just as every other state does. This would result in an increase in revenue for the Federal Reserve each year. It is estimated that Puerto Rico would have to pay $2.3 billion in federal income taxes each year.

7. Companies can no longer evade taxes by going to Puerto Rico

If Puerto Rico became a state and had to pay federal income taxes, companies could no longer move their businesses there to evade taxes. This is a clear problem in the U.S., as former Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders offered legislation during the campaign trail, aiming to prevent corporate tax avoidance.


8. Things would be cheaper in Puerto Rico

Statehood would also make things cheaper in Puerto Rico. For example, cars are 40 percent more expensive on the Island than on U.S. mainland. This is due to the Jones Act, which requires goods to first be shipped to the U.S. before being shipped from the U.S. to Puerto Rico. This makes it a lot more expensive than shipping directly from a good's country of origin to the island.

Downsides of Granting Puerto Rico Statehood


1. U.S. inherits Puerto Rico's debt

Since Puerto Rico does not currently hold statehood status, it is unable to access Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, like Detroit could when it went into bankruptcy. However, even if Puerto Rico could access these rights, they would only be able to cover a third of the island's debt. In asking for statehood, Puerto Rico is essentially asking for a bailout, something President Trump says he is unwilling to give.

2. Increases poverty, crime, and the unemployment rate in the U.S.

If Puerto Rico became a state, the island's statistics would become a part of the U.S.'s. 46 percent of Puerto Ricans live below the poverty line, way above the U.S. average of 13.5 percent as of 2015. In addition to that, crime rates in Puerto Rico are significantly higher than that in the U.S. Their unemployment rate of 11.5 percent is also higher than that of any U.S. state (the lowest is New Mexico at 6.7 percent unemployment), as well as the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in May.


3. Puerto Rico might be unable to pay federal income tax

If Puerto Rico became a state, its residents would no longer be exempt from paying federal income taxes. With Puerto Ricans already struggling to pay enough taxes to cover the island's massive debt, having to pay federal income taxes for the first time could cause a huge burden to an already struggling economy.

4. Loss of Puerto Rican identity

With such a low voter turnout (23 percent), the decisive election still fails to account for a majority of Puerto Ricans. Even though this election indicated a desire for statehood, there are still many who want to remain a territory or even independence. If Puerto Rico became a state against the wishes of a majority of its residents, it could cause a resentment towards the U.S.


5. U.S. will have to amend the flag to reflect all 51 states

The current flag bears 50 stars, one for every state that makes up the United States of America. If Puerto Rico became a state, the flag would have to be amended to account for the 51st state.

What now?

While there are both pros and cons when considering whether Puerto Rico should be admitted as the 51st state of the United States, it is ultimately up to Congress to decide the fate of the island. Since the 23 percent voter turnout was not indicative of Puerto Rican sentiment towards statehood, another election will be held in October to better convince Congress (if they can garner a higher turnout and keep support high).

Though it is unlikely that Congress will admit Puerto Rico to the union, if it does, Congress will have to pass a bill detailing plans for Puerto Rico's transition into a state. If a bill is not passed, Puerto Rico will retain its status as a U.S. territory.

Cover Image Credit: Mint Press News

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Super Early 2020 Presidential Election Prediction

How I think each state would go in a 2020 presidential election scenario of Donald Trump vs a generic Democrat

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The 2020 presidential election is nearly two years away but that doesn't mean we can make predictions on how each state will go. With the 2018 midterm elections two months ago I believe that it is clearer how the 2020 election might turn out. This is super early but I am super interested in presidential politics and I want to get my opinion out there on the 2020 election.

So this prediction will be Donald Trump vs a generic Democrat. The incumbent president almost always wins their party's nomination when they run for a second term so I don't see a good possibility for someone on the republican ticket other than Donald Trump. The reason why I am matching him up against a generic democrat is because there is no telling who the democratic nominee will be at this point in time and the candidate will make a significant difference in how I predict each state so I think using a generic democrat is a good middle ground. Also I will be assuming that there will be no significant 3rd party candidates.

The solid blue states that will almost definitely vote democrat since they have done so overwhelmingly in the previous couple of elections are Maine's 1st congressional district, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Illinois, California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii for a total of 183 solid electoral votes for the Democrats.

The solid red states that will almost definitely vote for Trump again since they voted for him and previous republicans overwhelmingly are South Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska (except the 1 electoral vote awarded by their 2nd congressional district), South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Alaska for a total of 125 solid electoral votes for Trump.

All of the states not mentioned are either swing states or they could at least be somewhat competitive. I'm gonna call each of these states starting from the least competitive of the remaining states and ending at the most competitive.

I think the state of New Mexico will be won by the Democrats. New Mexico is perhaps no longer a swing state. Hillary Clinton carried the state by 8.22% in 2016 and Obama carried it by over 10% in 2008 and 2012. Also with nearly half of its population being Hispanic/Latino it is difficult seeing a Trump victory here. Democrats lead 188-125.

I think Trump will win Texas. In 2016 Texas lost it's status as a solid republican state as Trump was only able to win it by 9%. Further in the 2018 midterm elections, Incumbent Republican Ted Cruz was barely able to keep his senate seat from his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke. All of this plus a diversifying population is bad news for Republicans in the state of Texas. However, since Texas isn't projected to become a swing state until 2024 or 2028 Trump should be able to hold on to Texas by 5%-10% in 2020, unless if he faces a candidate like Beto O'Rourke. Democrats lead 188-163.

I think Virginia and Colorado will go to the Democrats. I feel like these states have been very similar in the most recent presidential elections. Bush won both of those states in 2000 and 2004 by 4-8.5 point margins but then they swung towards the Democrats when Obama won them in 2008 and 2012 by similar margins. In 2016 Trump failed to make these states significantly closer, losing both by about 5%. Trump also has a -4 approval rating in Virginia and a -10 approval rating in Colorado. That on top of Democrats' gains of house seats, and Tim Kaine and Jared Polis easily winning their elections, makes projecting Colorado and Virginia as blue states not a very difficult choice. Democrats lead 210-163.

I think Ohio and Iowa and Maine's 2nd Congressional District will go to Trump again. Obama won these states in 2008 and 2012 by 3-10 point margins but Trump was able to greatly swing these states to the Republican column by winning them by 8, 9, and 10 points respectively. Iowa was more republican in 2016 than Texas. Republicans held on to their governorships in the 2018 midterm elections. Even though Trump has a -7 approval rating in Iowa and Republicans lost 2 house seats I still think Trump will win it again since he won it before by a 9 point margin. Same goes for Maine's 2nd Congressional District. Even though Republicans lost it in 2018 an 10 point margin is convincing that Trump will hold on to it. Democrats lead 210-188.

I think Trump will win Georgia. Georgia was similar to Texas in 2016 because those were both states where Trump underperformed his republican predecessors. Trump only won it by 5% in 2016 while Mitt Romney won it by almost 8% in 2012. Georgia is becoming a very diverse state with a very large African American population and it will become a minority majority state within a few years which doesn't bode well for future republicans. In the 2018 midterms, Brian Kemp was barely able retain Georgia's governorship for the republicans. However, I still think Georgia will remain a lean republican for this next election. Expect this state to become a tossup in 2024 and 2028. Democrats lead 210-204

I think Trump will win North Carolina. North Carolina despite being a swing state seems to lean republican. Obama barely won it by 0.33% in 2008 but then lost it in 2012 by 2% and Trump won it in 2016 by almost 4%. Trump's approval rating is also +2 in North Carolina. Trump leads 219-210.

I think Trump will win Nebraska's 2nd congressional district. Trump only won it by about 2% in 2016 and Obama was able to win it in 2008. However, in the 2018 midterms it remained a republican district by 2% so I think Trump will still hold on to it by a narrow margin. Trump leads 220-210.

I believe that Maine at large, Nevada, Minnesota, and New Hampshire will remain blue states. These were the four closest states that Clinton won in 2016 by margins under 3%. I think they will remain blue because Trump has poor approval ratings in these states which are -9, -5, -10, and -12 respectively. Republicans weren't even competitive in the Minnesota senate and gubernatorial races. In one of the senate races Minnesota voted more democratic then solid democrat states like Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Republicans also lost a senate seat and the governorship of Nevada. Republicans failed to make any pick ups in New Hampshire and Maine. Democrats lead 232-220.

I think Trump will win Florida. Florida is always a tricky state to call since it is always super close. Florida is a very diverse state with a high and growing hispanic/latino population but I still think Trump will hold on to it despite that. Trump has a +2 approval rating here and in the 2018 midterm elections Republicans held on to the governorship and flipped a senate seat. With this in mind I think Trump can edge it out. Trump leads 249-232.

I think the Democrats will flip Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania; the three crucial rust belt states that were critical to Trump's victory in 2016. I feel this way because his approval ratings in these states are -10, -9, and -5 respectively. All 3 of these states voted to have Democratic governors and senators in 2018 and they lost a few house seats too. Trump was only able to win these reliably democratic states by less than 1% in 2016. Democrats win 278-249

There is one final state and that is Arizona. This may be a bold prediction but I think the Democrats will win here. Like with Georgia and Texas, this state is becoming very diverse and will soon be minority majority and trump underperformed his republican predecessors only winning the state by 3.5% compared to 9% by Romney in 2012. His approval rating in the state is -2. Also in 2018 the republicans lost a senate seat and a house seat here. I just see that this state is trending more and more democratic every day and a Trump loss here is very possible. Expect this state to be one of the closest in 2020.

And that's my prediction, I have the Democrats winning the 2020 election 289-249. This prediction is super early and a lot can change from now and Election Day.

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