Sometimes, the moral thing to do conflicts with the expedient thing to do. That's a hard position to be in.
Sometimes, though, the moral thing to do is also the expedient thing to do. That's a really easy thing to do.
Statehood for American colonies -- that is, all the places under permanent American jurisdiction that lack full voting rights in Congress (most people think of DC and Puerto Rico, but I'm a hardliner: statehood for Guam!) -- is the latter case. It is clearly and incontestably a moral obligation -- a democracy cannot permanently deprive persons under its dominion of representation -- and it is also likely to result in a bunch more Democrats, particularly in a Senate that is right now geographically-skewed in favor of a population minority. Indeed, Mitch McConnell was "admirably" forthright in admitting that this was pretty much the only reason Republicans oppose statehood -- it'd result in new Democratic Senators.
Of course, that's actually an exaggeration -- Puerto Rico's current non-voting member of Congress is a Republican. So it's entirely plausible that the GOP could compete in Puerto Rico, if they cared to try.
But even if they couldn't -- and there's something embarrassing about the speed at which Republicans race to concede that they think there's no chance they could ever appeal to a non-White voter -- it wouldn't change anything. Democrats struggle to get elected in Wyoming, which is unfortunate, but I admit it never occurred to me that as a consequence we should try to deprive Wyoming of electoral representation. And I'm so old, I remember when the Senate was defended based on the need for "geographic diversity" and "protecting the minority" -- rationales which if anything underscore the necessity of giving Puerto Rico (and Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa....) representation in that august body.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
First on the Agenda: Statehood for the Colonies
Posted by David Schraub at 4:56 PM
Labels: DC, democracy, Mitch McConnell, Puerto Rico, Senate
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