Editor's note

On Sunday, Puerto Rico asked its citizens for a fifth time – should the island become a state? Voters, at least those who showed up to the polls, said yes with 97 percent casting a ballot for statehood. However, as our panel of experts point out, there are several major reasons why this vote may not be taken seriously by Congress, let alone its own people – record low turnout, major protests from parties opposed to statehood and a strike led by students in response to potential massive budget cuts that shut down the University of Puerto Rico for months.

Last week, in an unprecedented move, the FDA asked a drug company to withdraw an opioid from the market because of its potential for abuse. This comes in the wake of mounting evidence that the opioid epidemic in the U.S. is only getting worse. How did we get here? And what can be done to deal with this crisis? Six Conversation scholars weigh in.

And, today is George H.W. Bush’s 93rd birthday. To mark the occasion, James Goldgeier of American University’s School of International Service considers the legacy of Bush, the last president to come to office with an impressive foreign policy resume.

Danielle Douez

Associate Editor, Politics + Society

Top story

Protesters in favor of Puerto Rico’s independence protest after a referendum was held on the island’s status. AP Photo/Carlos Giusti

Puerto Rico votes on statehood: Polls and protests

Jossianna Arroyo-Martínez, University of Texas at Austin; Carlos Vargas-Ramos, City University of New York; Charles R. Venator-Santiago, University of Connecticut

Some Puerto Ricans voted, but most stayed home amid a looming financial debt crisis and political protests. Will this vote matter?

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    According to The New York Times, drug deaths are rising faster than ever, with more than 59,000 overdose deaths in 2016. How did we get here and what to do about it?

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