For months, Republican primary candidates sought to amass support across the Hawkeye state’s 99 counties. Iowa represents a gateway to political viability—a strong showcase can vault a candidate to win in Iowa the foreground or derail a campaign. In this year’s contest, only Donald Trump and Nikki Haley emerged with a chance at the nomination. 

Barack Obama, Pete Buttigieg, and Rick Santorum’s rise to prominence all stem from the intimate discussions shared by Iowa primary voters. Their voices reverberate within the thoughts of primary voters across the United States.

New Hampshire and South Carolina provide opportunities for floundering candidates to regain momentum. Jim Clyburn’s (D-SC) signature endorsement of Joe Biden revived the Vice President’s ailing campaign. Following lackluster performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, the largely African-American South Carolina constituency propelled Biden to a dominant Super Tuesday, the Democratic Nomination, and the White House. 

This bloc of voters inhabits a state that overwhelmingly backed former President Donald Trump. However, their unified political sentiment in the 2020 Democratic shaped the trajectory of the 2020 election. South Carolina Democrats may have cast futile ballots on Election Day, yet their moderate ideals molded the nation’s presidential election.

Puerto Rico now encounters itself on an arduous road toward statehood. Conservative politicians dismiss statehood as a partisan ploy for political power; Democrats affirm the dignity of a voiceless archipelago. 

Statehood should not represent an end-all solution to Puerto Rico’s systemic inequities. Indeed, creative mechanisms can bypass political gridlock to offer relief now.

Following Super Tuesday, there are seldom seismic shifts in candidate preference. A slew of second-tier candidates drop out of the race and the fate spelled out by South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Iowa voters follows suit. 

Puerto Rico’s summer primary date dilutes their political power. Their election merely reaffirms the frontrunner’s claim of the Democratic nomination. 

While Democrats lambast Republicans for depriving Puerto Rico’s political power, they fail to accomplish a common sense measure: place the Puerto Rican primary at the beginning of nomination season.

In lieu of traveling across the Iowa plains and New Hampshire woods, Democratic candidates would travel to Puerto Rico. They would heed appeals of Boricua voters and curate agendas that prioritize Puerto Rican prosperity. At last, Democratic politicians would carry the political pressure to aid America’s neglected colonial partner.

Democrats possess the tools to entrench Puerto Rico in the heart of the American electoral system. Will they blame Republicans for inaction or trailblaze a new Boricua future through simple reforms?