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How Can We Justify the Continuing Lack of Representation from US Territories?

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posted on Mar, 11 2015 @ 07:29 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Because assuming how a vote would turn out if another option that had been removed wasn't removed is an exercise in futility.

You say you've talked to several Puerto Ricans who want statehood. I've talked to several that vehemently don't.

If they, and the other territories, want it then they can make it happen. That would be far more indicative of what they want than assumptions from outsiders. If we force statehood on them, like some are apparently suggesting, then we'll have just as many complaints then about not respecting their desires as we do now about how "colonial" it is.




posted on Mar, 11 2015 @ 07:53 PM
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a reply to: Shamrock6

I am in no way suggesting that statehood should be forced upon PR or any US territory/commonwealth.


If they, and the other territories, want it then they can make it happen.


Could they though?
Is it really that cut and dry?
edit on 2015-3-11 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 11 2015 @ 08:55 PM
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originally posted by: Shamrock6
If they, and the other territories, want it then they can make it happen.


Not necessarily so. They can hold a plebiscite referendum, which they did in 2012. The 2012 election was a huge deal with 78% of eligible voters turning up that year. 'theantidiluvian' has already posted the associated numbers pertaining to the vote itself so I won't waste time or space rehashing it but the plebiscite referendum is really just a token vote with no actual politically binding meat to it's bones. For a Commonwealth such as PR to become a state, the referendum is a fine start but, per Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the ability to authorize the creation of a new state. Specifically, Section 3 prohibits the creation of new states from the territory of others without their consent, or the combining of two or more states without Congressional approval. So the approval is a given based on the 2012 election/referendum in PR so it is up to Congress to get off its lazy duff and decide whether or not they will admit PR as the 51st state.

Official admission to the Union requires Congress to draft -- and the president to sign -- a bill called an "enabling act." For Puerto Rico to become a state, it would need to convince Congress and the president that statehood is not only in the best interest of the Puerto Rican people, but in the best interest of the United States as a whole. The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives would need to approve the statehood admission by a two-thirds majority vote.

PR could petition Congress to admit it to the Union and Congress could also deny them their petition without a vote IIRC. For example, Tennessee was denied statehood after its first petition. They then drafted a state constitution anyway, elected 2 Senators and the requisite number of Representatives and sent them all to Washington where the US Congress refused to seat the men. They continued to lobby for statehood and obviously, were finally admitted to the Union. This is roughly the same path taken by Alaska in their bid to become a state as well. This aggressive tactic is called a "Tennessee Plan'. The usual, more benign method is to hold a referendum as was done by PR in 2012 and then petition Congress to allow them to draft a Constitution. I believe that PR has already done this part back in 1951 when they first became a Commonwealth so effectively, they only need to fulfill the last step, petition Congress to allow them to elect representatives.

The fact of the matter with PR however is that Congress is unlikely to take up their cause as they aren't going to benefit the Union as a whole by becoming a state. The poverty level in PR is staggering and nearly double that of Mississippi at 45% which if obtaining statehood, would require nearly $8 billion annually( not adjusted for inflation of course) in social security and Medicaid expenses alone. I think at this stage, it's far more likely that we would see a Constitutional amendment granting unincorporated territories such as PR, Guam and the Virgin Islands the right to vote in federal elections which aside from not paying federal income taxes is the only real difference they have between being a State vs Commonwealth. As PR has been a part of the US in one form or another for 98 years(since 1917) and a Commonwealth with a Constitution since 1951, I think its long overdue to grant them as well as the other unincorporated territories the ability to vote in Federal elections. They already get to vote in the Primaries so why not allow them proper representation in Congress and the right to vote in federal elections?



posted on Mar, 12 2015 @ 03:26 AM
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a reply to: peter vlar
On a topic I was interested to read about but know very little about this was a fantastically informative post. Well done sir.



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