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ETpro's avatar

What do you think about Puerto Rico voting to become the 51st state?

Asked by ETpro (34208 points ) November 10th, 2012

The 2012 election this November 7th was full of surprises. For the first time since the Great Depression, a president was able to win reelection even though unemployment was greater than 8%. Perhaps, as in 1936, voters remembered who presided over the Great Financial Crisis they had just weathered. In an unprecedented sweep, Democrats increased their number of Senate seats even though they had to defend 23 seats in the election while only 10 republican seats were on the ballot. It was the year of the woman.

In the news clutter, almost unnoticed, something else noteworthy happened. Puerto Ricans went to the polls and voted to petition for statehood. Next, the question moves to the US Congress, which must approve Puerto Rico’s petition before they can be accepted as the nation’s 51st state.

Will the GOP see this as a much needed opportunity to embrace the growing Latino element of the American electorate, and support Puerto Rican statehood in Congress? Or will they dig in their heels in opposition to what they are likely to see as a risk of adding another reliably blue state to the Union, and further diluting the power of their largely white male base? What’s your personal opinion regarding statehood for Puerto Rico? Are there any other protectorates, territories or districts you would like to welcome into the Union as states?

BTW, here’s the layout for a US Flag with 51 stars. Is there any number of states that can’t be worked into a reasonable looking field of stars on our flag?

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23 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Has a petition for statehood ever been turned down? I wonder if Washington DC will ever be accepted as a state. If PR makes Republicans crazy, DC will make them foam at the mouth!

I am kind of amazed, and also gratified. It’s hard to believe they finally decided they wanted to be a state. I think they will have a lot to teach us and give the rest of the nation, and if this is for real, I hope it is ratified soon.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’m surprised Puerto Rico voted to become a state. It was my understanding that they made out a lot better by being a common wealth.

zenvelo's avatar

I have a hard time seeing this get through the House in the next two years. And if it does it would probably have a requirement that the new State be “English Only”.

jerv's avatar

I’m a traditionalist and would prefer to keep the state count at 50, but I rather like Puerto Rico.

Can we get rid of Texas? Many there seem to want to be an independent Republic, so it sounds like a win-win.

Linda_Owl's avatar

If the people of Puerto Rico actually WANT to be a state (after years of being a Common Wealth), then I hope that Congress will allow them to become a state.

And @jerv , I can understand you wanting to get rid of Texas, but please don’t. Not all who live in Texas want to leave the Union & I certainly do not want to live with a Republican form of government – especially not with the Governor that we have now!

bolwerk's avatar

@wundayatta: Texas was turned down a few times to avoid antagonizing Mexico, among other reasons. (Texans spend like drunken sailors.)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If they want statehood I say go for it. We’ll find a place somewhere for the star.

wundayatta's avatar

@bolwerk Well, Texas! Of course!

hearkat's avatar

I read an article about the Puerto Rico vote, and it was a two-part question, the second part having 3 choices. So although the statehood option had the most votes of the three, it did not have more than the other two combined, so it wasn’t really a “majority” who voted for it. It seems very controversial, and I think many in PR will challenge it.

Sunny2's avatar

I was worried about the figuration of the flag. Thanks for including the solution to that issue. Now, don’t we need an opposing party to bring in as a pair? Perhaps Guam could be the Republican pair to Puerto Rico’s Democrat (if that’s still how it is.) Is there a pre-planned flag for 52 states? (although I do like the idea of bumping a couple states out of the union so we could take both Guam and Puerto Rico in. I believe Texas has talked about seceding. Anybody else?

Unbroken's avatar

@zenvelo It was my understanding that America doesn’t have an official language. That being said all the peurto ricans I have met know English, I wonder just what the percentage of currently speak English.
Perhaps you were going where my mind was going, what will be the cost of statehood? And what would be fair?
As far as why they seek statehood my speculation goes along the lines of ease of travel, and just maybe a safer world, less crime. But that is pure guess work. I should read more on the topic.
As to adding to the US, we want to spread democracy, because we believe in it. But the bigger we are the harder it is to represent all parties, all interests. So in order for us to succeed in achieving the goals of our Declaration of Independence do we become less of who we are, do we diminish ourselves, our cultures our beliefs? Or do we find ways to coexist to cherish and respect ourselves and each other for those differences?

I have a lot of questions but I intuitively lean toward ratification. But I am more of an idealist rather then a politician.
I didn’t answer along the lines of your question, @ETPro. If that offends I am apologize, Republicans need to do more then play defense to remain effective in policy change. If they try to stop it, they are going to have a harder time winning elections then they currently do.

bolwerk's avatar

@rosehips: outside of large cities, the percentage who don’t know English is fairly high. Regardless, PR’s official language is Spanish. (Of course, they never made the Alabama or West Virginia learn English.)

I don’t see many advantages to statehood for them. There are some disadvantages, like paying federal taxes. The big advantage is representation in Congress.

deni's avatar

@zenvelo Why would they be English only? Even America itself isn’t.

I do not like the flag. Also, why would they be a blue state? I thought a lot of Latinos leaned toward the left?

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Utah needed 50 years, numerous attempts and a law against bigamy before they eventually passed muster with Congress. So far, DC has hit a solid wall of resistance. But we’ve voted in Congress 37 times now to add a state. Compare that to electing 44 presidents. It’s not all that unusual for Congress to say yes by a simple majority, and the President to sign the bill.

@uberbatman I think the opposition to statehood was fragmented into two camps that insisted on separate categories of “No” on the ballot. The fact is that just 44% voted yes, but the no votes were split. That being the case, I say we let them in. Maybe they will be able to make Florida elections look a bit less nonsensical.

@zenvelo Maybe if everybody there swore they’d attend a gun show and bay at least on piece, and they passed a concealed carry without license.

@jerv Traditionalist. I remember that for the longest time we had 48 states. It was a real shock to welcome Alaska as number 49. I felt better about that when Hawaii came in, because 50 just seemed like a nicer number than 49.

@Linda_Owl I totally agree. Texas has cost us plenty. And the changing demographics there mean they are probably on their way to becoming a progressive, well managed state. They have already left the bulk of red states, which mostly are takers, not makers. Texas, unlike it’s fellow Southern states, already contributes more in tax revenue than it sponges up.

@bolwerk Excellent point to add to the top response about Utah and the District of Columbia.

@Adirondackwannabe My natural inclination is to approve, as well. To tell the truth I was delighted when Alaska and Hawaii joined the union.

@hearkat Yes, the anti-statehood group were divided against themselves so strongly they insisted on having two separate “No” vote categories to oppose the one, unified “Yes” vote. Stupid to fail. So if e welcome Puerto Rico as the 51st state, we’d have to take the stupid majority along with the winning plurality. Ah well, life is seldom perfect.

@Sunny2 Putting both in the bill would be totally fine with me. Guam wouldn’t impact the balance of power in the House of Representatives all that much, but it would add 2 Senators even though its population is small. And lest you worry, the original Flag Enthusiast site that proposed designs up to 70 states disappeared, but here’s a WayBack link to it. My favorite is the 69-star design, because its star field looks like on atop another even if you turn it upside down. Oh, and here’s a design that suggests why some in Puerto Rico may resist being assimilated. :D

@rosehips Thanks for exploring that side of the issue. I don’t get offended easily, and am outraged at any suggestion that I might do so. :D

@deni Good point on the language issue.

zenvelo's avatar

@rosehips @deni I brought up the language thing as more of a sarcastic capsule of Republican thinking. They have brought up various English Only laws a number of times. It’s a common complaint from conservatives in California and Arizona about Latinos: “Why can’t they learn English?”

By the way @deni , you do know that a blue state means they lean to the left?

jrpowell's avatar

I kind of like it.

And a new flag would be a major economic boom for China.

Unbroken's avatar

@ETpro K)
@zenvelo humor has a tough time translating on the web.. I do have a sense of humor and will catch on…. or not
@johnpowell usa flags are made in the us. Just saying.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@rosehips I had a couple little ones laying around that said made in China on them.

Unbroken's avatar

@uberbatman I am being hopeful there is pending legislation on banning importation of US flags.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@rosehips “All-American Flag Act – Requires any flags of the United States acquired for use by the federal government to be entirely manufactured in the United States….:” Thats just for federally used flags. It wouldn’t ban the importing of Chinese made flags.

tedd's avatar

I’d like to see them added.

The island is actually split about 50/50 Democrat/Republican. Their Pro-Statehood Republican governor just lost an election by essentially 50.1%-49/9% to a Democrat who is anti-statehood.

The island officially has two languages now, Spanish and English. I tried to find official data on fluency but couldn’t. Unofficially, a guy I spoke to from the island said basically everyone knows English, though they use Spanish as their first language.

deni's avatar

@zenvelo My bad, no idea why I thought it was the other way around for a sec. Silly me

ETpro's avatar

@johnpowell I like the circular star-field too. And it’s doubly good because it can accommodate any 2-digit or 3-digit number of stars with the same basic geometric shape. That said, I’d avoid this particular circular motif.

@tedd Thanks for the background info on the issue. It’s strange that an anti-statehood government would win the same election in which statehood prevailed. It tells me the Democrats badly miscalculated how they managed the statehood referendum, telling their base to not vote on question two rather than vote no on it. They sound like they are as organized as our mainland Democratic Party, and should fit well. :D

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