Incorporating D.C. and Puerto Rico into the Union

Thread title may be inaccurate as they may already technically be part of the union but what I mean is the idea of making these areas official states. This to me seems to be the only way to avoid the tyranny of the minority (or at least obstruction of the minority) going forward. I’ve seen this mentioned a few times but what I’m wondering is whether this idea is nothing more than liberal fever dreams. Is there any remote possibility of this actually happening? Would it be seen as akin to packing the court? I just find it remarkably frustrating that the Republicans have fucked things up so badly and there’s an even odds chance that they’ll still have the ability to obstruct by holding the Senate come November.

It is actually one of the simpler fixes to / mitigations of the Senate. It’s a simple majority vote in the House and Senate. It does rely on cooperation from the territory — they have to be for it, make a state constitution, etc — which is a slam dunk in DC but perhaps not so much in Puerto Rico. It isn’t entirely clear the citizens of PR are for statehood. There have been a couple of referenda on the subject but the results were not resoundingly successful.

Oh I see this isn’t even a theoretical idea. The house had already passed legislation. Would they have to do it again next year (assuming we get a Dem president and Senate?)

Assuming that they can get it done, is there no going back? Could the Republicans (assuming they can gain power again) revoke the statehood? Or would they just try to break Texas up into two states?

I don’t think there is any way to kick a state out, and the Civil War shows that states can’t even voluntarily withdraw. So it’s permanent.

States splitting into multiple states is another matter, but there are real self-interest obstacles against it. E.g. Texas has a lot of electoral votes and Congressional representation, and splitting it up is almost guaranteed to result in splitting their allegiance. And California could counter it, but probably wouldn’t for the same reasons.

I wondered the same thing. Outside of Coronavirus, this needs to be #1 on the priority list. If we control all 3 branches of government, is there anything that could stop them from being admitted as the 51st and 52nd states?

Once statehood is granted, it can’t be revoked. Members of another state could attempt to put forth a measure to create their own except it would likely face legal resistance from the state’s other members (IANAL, but I’d think so because the loss of people, land and resources would effectively cause them harm). I suspect that’s why you generally only see serious efforts about territories which aren’t currently part of states.

Speaking of, I wonder what is going to happen to eastern Oklahoma, if anything, per that Supreme Court decision from just a few weeks ago. Is it going to revert to “Indian Territory” or an Eastern Oklahoma? Will it split into smaller regions such as Choctaw, Cherokee, and so on?

Sure, most likely no non-Native American Americans will be displaced and the political structures will probably remain intact, but it’s a pretty weird year. Does anyone know of a precedent for this kind of situation?

I think that decision is basically the Court reminding the government that they need to officially abrogate that treaty to seize control of the reservation land. Gorsuch isn’t saying “the state government can’t exercise jurisdiction over that land.” He’s saying “they can’t do it without Congress amending the law.”

As a Puerto Rican living in the South\Midwest, I am regularly asked “Did you get your citizenship?” If PR becomes a state, I can’t wait for that to change to “Are you happy to now be a citizen?”

I mean, I guess with the second one it’ll at least start with an assumption of citizenship.

Using DC statehood to “fix” the Senate is a bad idea. We should be pushing for Maryland/Virginia to absorb the DC voters, leaving only non-residential federal areas as run by the feds. Yeah, it will take some horse-trading to figure out exactly how to do that, but that would be simplicity itself compared to the statehood fight.

I disagree. And there won’t be much of a fight if the Dems have control of the House and the Senate and the White House and actually want to do it. Maybe they don’t want to; it’s hard to say. But if they want to, it’s relatively simple.

Hey, if you don’t mind me asking in a public forum, what are your thoughts on PR statehood? From my perspective they and people in Washington DC deserve full representation, but I’m curious what the perspective is from Puerto Ricans. What is the sentiment for the status quo vs statehood vs distancing themselves from the US?

Not that I expect you to speak for an entire population of course, I just don’t know any Puerto Ricans and am interested in your perspective.

My perspective will be skewed; while I was born there, I grew up largely on the East Coast. My family is very attached to their cultural background, and I still have a bunch of family there, but my experience has largely been one of living in the contiguous.

Personally, I’m all for it. I’d prefer that the folks there are afforded the opportunities that come with statehood, and I think it would be transformative for the island. Maybe (occasionally) in ways they wouldn’t love regarding keeping some of that culture intact, but in a lot of big and small ways, I think it would improve the standard of living.

That manages the trifecta of being politically pointless for the presumed party in power, being more complex (because now you have to negotiate with the absorbing state, and not just the territory and Congress) and a slap in the face to the residents of DC who have been agitating for statehood for decades.

I don’t know what DC is like nowadays, but back when I lived there in the 80s the statehood advocates would have rejected that as a proposal.

Thanks!

There are two big reasons that’s less possible/appealing:

  1. Absorption is not as popular with DC, and is unpopular in Maryland/Virginia too.

  2. Even if DC AND Puerto Rico became states and they elected democrats forever, democrats would still be at a disadvantage getting senate majorities relative to popular vote:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-senate-has-always-favored-smaller-states-it-just-didnt-help-republicans-until-now/

I wasn’t totally clear earlier. When I said absorption into MD/VA was better than DC statehood, I meant in order to accomplish the goal of allowing DC residents to have equal representation to voters in other states. It’s the simplest solution that provides that without causing other effects, like changing the Senate. I understand that others care about things beyond just that representation question, but when you start adding additional things on, it becomes a much harder question to answer, and thus it hasn’t been. Going with the minimal solution is how DC got electoral college representation back in 1961, too.

Absorption… actually isn’t all that simple? It’s part of why MD/VA oppose it. Also, adding new states is a pretty well established process (its happened comfortably within in living memory, even), certainly more so than adding new parts to existing states.

Yup, 1959. During my in laws lifetime, and just 2 years before my parents.