Seeking Statehood: Will DC, Puerto Rico Ever Gain Full Representation In The United States?
Residents of America's largest colony and the nation's capital city are considered U.S. citizens with no representation at the Capitol. Statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia is a hot-button issue in 2020 and for the most part, Americans support it. But the path is long, complex and politically fraught.
Before the Civil War, states were added two at a time to avoid giving either party a political advantage. In 1959, Hawaii became 50th to officially become part of the United States of America, after an annexation so grueling it warranted a congressional apology to native Hawaiians.
What would D.C. and Puerto Rico gain from statehood? Does the U.S. also stand to benefit? What are the political implications?
Why haven't they become states already? Why is the process so complicated? Where is the pushback coming from and why?
How could 2020 election outcomes influence each's journey to statehood? What is the likelihood of change and how would it happen?
- Mikaela Lefrak, District resident, reporter for WAMU and host of the "51st" podcast about D.C.'s fight for representation
- Carlos Suárez Carrasquillo, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science and director of master and graduate certificates at the University of Florida's Center for Latin American Studies
- Thomas Ogorzalek, political scientist in Chicago who researches American political history including national expansion; author of "The Cities on the Hill: How Urban Institutions Transformed American Politics" and co-director of The Chicago Democracy Project at Northwestern University
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*This interview was recorded on Monday, November 2.