The 52-State Strategy: The Case for D.C.

The 52-State Strategy: The Case for D.C.

Alex Guerrero T hirty-seven times since the nation’s founding, we have added states to the union. The last time was in 1959, when two new states, Alaska and Hawaii, were admitted. There are a couple of reasons to think such a moment may be arriving again. The first is the scandalously poor response to last year’s hurricane in Puerto Rico. While Puerto Ricans are American citizens, the island, which for more than a century has been governed as a U.S. territory, has neither congressional representation nor Electoral College votes. As many have observed, this lack of representational clout goes a long way toward explaining why the federal government has felt free to slow-walk the hurricane recovery. Puerto Ricans’ lack of political power may have caused thousands of lives to be lost. The second factor pushing in favor of statehood is the Republican Party’s ongoing effort to use anti-democratic tactics—from voter ID laws to voter roll purges to racial gerrymanders—to tip the electoral scales to their advantage. As a result, some on the left are saying that the time has come to right the balance by expanding democracy and granting statehood both to Puerto Rico and to another region that has been denied full representation for even longer, the District of Columbia. We sent out two reporters, Ben Paviour and Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter-Poza, to explore the opportunities and challenges that a push for fifty-two states would present. What follows is Paviour’s dispatch from D.C. For Buckwalter-Poza’s report on Puerto Rico, […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.