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Puerto Rico’s Crisis Could Break Its Two-Party System

With Governor Ricardo Rosselló preparing to step down, protesters have set their sights on deep-rooted corruption.

A woman holds a sign during a rally to celebrate the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló in San Juan on July 25. 

A woman holds a sign during a rally to celebrate the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló in San Juan on July 25. 

Photographer: Marco Bello/Reuters

Just a day after Puerto Ricans forced their governor to resign, they were training their rage on new targets. Urged on through a drizzle by drums, whistles, and horns, they carried signs depicting politicians as pigs or behind bars with messages like “You’re next.” On the walls of San Juan’s colonial buildings they had spray-painted warnings to their new targets, including Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez, next in line to be governor after several other cabinet secretaries resigned. “Ricky was first,” said Yaritza Santiago, a 22-year-old from the southern city of Ponce, referring to outgoing governor Ricardo Rosselló. “Now we need to clean the capital and the political system of all these corrupt people.”

Disenchanted voters around the world have created populist movements from France to Brazil to the U.K., and of course the U.S. mainland. Aroused and organized on the internet, they’ve weakened the institutions and parties that stabilized politics for much of the 20th century.