To the editor:
Congressman Adriano Espaillat told the Podcast from Washington of El Nuevo Dia in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that he believes that 52.5 percent who voted for the statehood option during the Nov. 3 status plebiscite in Puerto Rico is not enough to advance a statehood bill.
“It must be approved by a very solid majority,” he said.
Espaillat is proposing an artificial threshold for an election to be considered legitimate. It is a self-serving and hypocritical argument.
Consider the following:
Espaillat won the Democratic primary for his congressional seat in 2016 with just 36 percent of the vote, according to the state elections board. Using Espaillat’s thinking, does that mean that his election to Congress was illegitimate and invalid? If so, should we not have another Democratic primary election for his congressional district?
A small sample of individuals from the metropolitan area rebutted the congressman’s argument in the following statements:
“If independence had gotten 52 percent of the vote, does anyone think these people would still be claiming that it isn’t sufficient?” asked Christopher Fagan, a statehood supporter from Long Island.
“Let’s be honest here … most independence supporters would be reacting the same way statehooders are reacting to Espaillat’s statement. And they’d be right to be upset at being marginalized despite winning a majority.”
John De Jesus questioned the fairness of an artificial threshold for claiming an election was valid.
“Joe Biden was elected with more than 50 percent of the vote,” he wrote in Spanish. “Anything more than 50 percent is a majority.”
Luis Arroyo dared supporters of the independence option and Puerto Rican “separatists” to allow island residents to choose between the only two status options that produce a permanent resolution to the status question — statehood or independence.
“If you’re so convinced Puerto Rico will reject statehood, why do you oppose a statehood admissions act?” Arroyo asked. “Puerto Ricans can defeat and kill off statehood forever. Why won’t you let ‘no’ win. Let ‘no’ win.”