Will Puerto Rico become the 51st state?

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

This story received no attention in election coverage on Tuesday night. Ryan Cooper writes at the Political Animal blog, Time for Puerto Rico to Become the 51st State:

Puertorico.svgIn a little-noticed vote last night, after many failed attempts, Puerto Rico voted to officially join the United States as a full state:

The two-part referendum asked whether the island wanted to
change its 114-year relationship with the United States. Nearly 54
percent, or 922,374 people, sought to change it, while 46 percent, or
786,749 people, favored the status quo. Ninety-six percent of 1,643
precincts were reporting as of early Wednesday.

The second question asked voters to choose from three
options, with statehood by far the favorite, garnering 61 percent.
Sovereign free association, which would have allowed for more autonomy,
received 33 percent, while independence got 5 percent.

The issue now moves to Congress. President Obama has promised to respect the wishes of such a vote, and both party platforms for this year agree.

* * *

The trouble in Congress could come if some troglodyte adds an amendment
forcing Puerto Rico to adopt English as the offial language or some
other mischief. Republicans might filibuster the bill in the Senate,
eyeing possible Democratic pickups in Congress.

* * *

The United States annexed Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American war
in 1898, and Puerto Ricans have been citizens since 1917. They (like
residents of Washington, DC and the other territories) must register for
the draft and pay taxes, but cannot vote for President and are not
represented in Congress.

This state of affairs, like all colonies, is a travesty of justice
and an embarrassment for an allegedly democratic state. Now that the
Puerto Rican people have chosen statehood freely and fairly, they should
be welcomed as full fellow citizens with all speed.

(And if we want to balance out the field of stars in the U.S. flag with 52 stars, Congress can grant Baja Arizona statehood as well!)

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