Statehood for Puerto Rico?

A plurality of the voters of Puerto Rico supported a non-binding referendum in favor of statehood for the U.S. territory.  A few observations:

  • prcaribPuerto Rico as a state would elect two U.S. senators and five members of the House of Representatives, probably all Democrats in the near-term future.  For this reason statehood for Puerto Rico is unlikely unless Democrats control both the Senate and the House.
  • Since representation in the Electoral College is based on representation in the Senate and House, Puerto Rico would have seven electoral votes, probably all Democratic in the near-term future.  This would make total U.S. electoral votes an odd number—making a tie vote impossible in a two-way race, unlike at present.
  • Statehood for Puerto Rico would rule out independence for Puerto Rico.  There is precedent for a U.S. territory, the Philippines, becoming an independent nation.  There is no precedent for a state peacefully leaving the union.

Statehood for Puerto Rico is fine by me if that is what Puerto Ricans want.  Likewise independence or continued Commonwealth status.  I hope that if Puerto Ricans do ask for statehood, they are sure this is what they really want, because if they have second thoughts, it may be too late.

Anyhow, the outcome of the referendum is ambiguous.  It was in two parts – whether the voters wanted a change in the island’s status, and, if so, what change they wanted.  The vote represented a majority of those voting on the second question, but not on the first.

Here are some links with more information.

Puerto Rico Statehood Experts Challenge Results by ABC News.

Puerto Rican Statehood: 5 Reasons Why the Island Won’t Become the 51st State  by Huffington Post.

Does Puerto Rico Really Want to Become the 51st State? by a guest blogger for Christian Science Monitor.

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One Response to “Statehood for Puerto Rico?”

  1. jameswharris Says:

    I think we owe them statehood.


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