Incorporating D.C. and Puerto Rico into the Union

Yet lots of political professionals labor very hard to convince people to register to vote and to actually show up and cast votes. Apparently it’s hard to do! If it were not hard to do, then someone would already be doing it consistently, to their obvious advantage.

In the face of decades of intransigent non-voters in what amounts to a zero-sum game electoral process, I’m not sure hey let’s just convince those people to vote has the prescriptive power you’re ascribing to it.

I mean there are things that can help.

But they require winning first.

Oregon consistently has one of the highest voter turnouts, and they are all vote by mail.

Puerto Rico has had a number of referendums (referenda?) over the last 50 or so years on this issue. It’s very much a live issue/concern, but also one that seems to have deep cleavages.

I don’t know if PR is the same as the USVI (which is all of 50 files away), but based soly on my anecdotal experience, many USVI residents want to retain the territorial status in large part because it’s a huge net benefit, financially, for the territory. While residents pay the equivalent of US and state taxes, all the revenue is retained in the territory, and then they also get support from the rest of the US. Anyone know if PR is the same?

PR is probably similar, but after the last hurricane and the aftermath, becoming a place with Reps and votes probably looks a lot more appealing.

Wow, great link. The 2012 and 2017 referendums are…pretty different.


PR resident don’t pay Federal income tax. But of course most PR residents probably would pay no or minimal Federal Income Tax because they are poor. What I don’t know is how corporate taxes work there. I remember reading there was some sweetheart deal for the pharma industry that cause lots of companies to set up manufacturing plants in PR. Does that go away if they become a state?

As a point of reference 94% of Hawaii residents voted for statehood back in 1959.

It is also worth noting for the 30+ years there has been a small, but vocal group in Hawaii advocating for the re-establishment of the Hawaiian independence. They find rather creative ways of of making the vote for statehood look less lopsided.

Interesting point. I don’t see any good reason why Midwestern states can’t be good Democratic states. Get the farmers on your side and you should be good.

My understanding – which is likely flawed – is that USVI residents don’t pay federal taxes either. Instead, the territorial income tax is basically the same as federal income tax (plus a bit), and all that money stays in the territory. On top of that, the territory receives quite a bit of federal assistance, similar to what a state would receive, but receives it without paying into the federal coffers in the first place, so it’s very much a net positive recipient of federal funds.

I think(?) the same is true of other U.S. territories, but I’m not sure.

Also, if memory serves, at least one group boycotted the 2017 PR referendum, so overall turnout was low and votes for at least one of the options was not representative of general public opinion.

Kinda tangential, but if you’re interested in the history of Puerto Rican independence, territorial status, and nationalism, this goes over a lot of the history and some of the interesting figures leading those various causes.

Did you know that Puerto Rican nationalists were in a shootout with the secret service in an attempt to assassinate Harry Truman?

@Timex I’d like to further point out that every time democrats try to help them, they’d literally rather die than allow it to happen. Healthcare and Medicaid expansion are perfect examples. Democrats for years have bent over backwards giving farmers and rurals more support than republicans ever did and they still hate Democrats and vote against their own best interests. They’ve done this for 30 years, and I still don’t see it changing. I read a story last year of a guy who was dying of cancer and he couldn’t afford treatment being in a non expansion state. He lived 5 miles from the border of a state that would have fully covered him for free. When he was asked how he felt about that he said he’d rather die than support Medicaid expansion. He died a month later.

That guy isn’t representation of everyone living in the Midwest, dude. He’s a crazy extreme example that makes for entertaining stories.

Even if a crazy example is used, I think it’s accurate to say that the Democrats’ attempts to enact policy that would help these people have not made many inroads though, right? Obamacare was tyranny that they hate but don’t take it away, they need it to access healthcare. That sort of thing. Democrats propose job training programs because the reality is that coal is a dying industry and the workforce is further shrinking due to automation, but that makes Democrats the enemy. They flock to the GOP who tells that coal is awesome and we’re going to Make Coal Great Again, which is a lie.

I’m not sure how to break through, not when there’s literally a propaganda network opposing the Democrats and their policies. So if even policies that would/could help them are opposed (even while they’re simultaneously popular somehow), how do you swing these states?

Speaking of many conservatives I know in a red state, you could literally elect an immoral kleptocrat who sells out the country for the favor of foreign dictators and they would still vote for this hypoethetical candidate over a Democrat. This person could even kill six figures of Americans and they’d still vote for him over a Liberal. That’s how toxic those groups are.

Anyway, not challenging you to have all the answers. Just venting a little frustration, I guess.

From 2012 and still relevant today, a Frontline piece that investigates how politics is done in this country. Rural voters don’t just vote overwhelmingly for any Republicans, they vote for the most extreme ones they can find.

Well, we need to consider the two different cases of healthcare and job training.

On the front of healthcare, consider that most people didn’t really understand how the ACA worked. Tons of people didn’t understand the Medicaid expansion, and that many of their states didn’t implement that part. But they DID know that they were mandated to buy health insurance, but couldn’t really afford it. They didn’t really understand that if their state had implemented the Medicaid expansion, that it would have solved their problems.

Yet, even so, the public perception of the ACA continued to improve, and when it finally came down to removing it, and it was highlighted what it had given them and what they stood to lose if it were repealed… The GOP had no support.

I think this suggests that a big part of the Democrats’ problem is that they are bad at messaging. You see this a bit with the current presidential ads, where some of the best ads are coming out from guys who used to be Republicans. They just seen to have a better idea of how to push the right buttons.

Now, on the front of worker retraining, I think this also kind of comes down to messaging, but a much harder problem. If your message is that you will help people change their entire life, and the GOP is saying that there just going to restore the previous status quo that was good for you… Then the GOP message is more effective.

The trick is to get them to see that the GOP message isn’t real. It’s just magic beans. But the Democrats have an uphill battle here, in that they are relegated to be the party of bad news. Those old jobs ain’t coming back. The world has moved on. That’s a rough pill to swallow for a lot of folks.

If i had to guess at the best plan for dealing with that, I’d go the route of painting the future in a rosey way. Focus on how the changes will make their lives better than ever. That progress is going to lead us all into some golden age. Almost the kind of message that dominated the national psyche in the 1950s. Space ships and robots and crap.

Also, while it’s become a punchline under Trump, i think that a large-scale national infrastructure project can help form a transition to the future economy.

You can do large scale, national infrastructure that involved things like new green technology. This not only checks the box for ecological improvements, but it helps employ folks with less established technical know-how, but simultaneously provides on the job training for how to work with those new technologies. That’s what I’d do to help carry some of those voters into the 21st century.

But remember… A bunch of them don’t vote at all. A bunch of them are disillusioned, thinking that the state doesn’t really give a crap about them or their vote.

Consider this, let’s take a rural state like, say, Iowa. If Clinton could have gotten like 20% of the people who didn’t vote at all to vote her, she would have won.

And this round, Biden is way closer to Trump in Iowa than Clinton was. That 1% lead by Trump could be grabbed just from those non voters.

But i think that part of the issue is that Democrats don’t even really try to go after the voters in a lot of those places, or at least haven’t for a while. If you convince yourself that they are a lost cause, and focus your message on castigating then rather than winning them over, then of course you’ll never win there.

Yeah, I think this is going to be really hard. I mean, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we can’t get a lot of these same people to wear a mask because they think it will make them sick from breathing their “exhaust” or believe it’s an issue of government tyranny thanks to Fox News and others in RWM. I mean if we can’t get them to wear masks during a pandemic, I don’t begin to know how to message something as complicated as healthcare reform or a difficult transition to a new economy.

One thing I think we can and should do long-term is education. The lack of critical thinking skills of Americans is downright frightening and tragic and I think is the root of a lot of our problems.

Uh, I just realized this was the D.C. / Puerto Rico thread. Sorry.

The GOP has had almost my entire life to come up with a better health care system. What they have done, instead, is oppose any attempt to expand access and make it more affordable. If there are some people who have not learned yet that the GOP’s actual view on health care is people who get sick and can’t afford a doctor should get better quickly or fucking die, those people will never learn it.

Is this opposite day when Timex is the one with the radical progressive idea?

You have to fight fire with fire right now- when you’re dealing with outright fascists, you can’t afford to be soft.

While your post sounds great, we can’t do any of this without having control of all 3 branches of government because republicans and their minions use misinformation to block and obstruct progress. What makes sense to you and I will only enrage a Ted Cruzer who wants to make himself president some day and be center news all the time. We have active inferference from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, OAN, and the bajillion conservative (free) print and radio shows.

It doesn’t matter how well we try to educate them Timex, all those news services rely on conflict and anger to survive. As we’ve already seen, they’d rather watch their constituency die than pull turn off gasoline for good.