It’s time fix this inequity and to make Washington and Puerto Rico the 51st and 52nd states, with full representation in the Senate and the House. A few years ago, this idea would have seemed radical (or at least it least it would have outside of Washington and Puerto Rico, where it’s long been popular.) But it is now starting to get more attention, and it deserves to. Those four million American citizens deserve to be treated as American citizens.
I know that some Republicans will claim that adding two states is just a ploy to help the Democratic Party. But if the people of Washington and Puerto Rico want to be represented by Democrats, they should have that right. Plus, they might sometimes choose Republicans, as the conservative pollster Patrick Ruffini has suggested. Puerto Rico’s current (nonvoting) member of the House of Representatives is a Republican, Jenniffer González-Colón.
Adding two new states is a far more achievable idea than many of the other democratic reforms being bandied about these days, like Supreme Court term limits. Granting statehood has been a regular part of this country’s history. It happened in every decade from the Constitution’s ratification in the 1780s through the 1910s, when Arizona and New Mexico joined. Then it happened again in 1959, with Alaska and Hawaii. That most recent expansion was now 59 years ago, which means the country has never gone so long without adding a new state.