by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Puerto Rico referendum votes for US statehood

Whoo! Whoo! Time to add a star and update the American flag everywhere.  The people of Puerto Rico, by a majority (54%), but not overwhelmingly, voted to join the Union as the 51st state.

Back in March, President Obama welcomed and promised everything he could do to unite PR with USA, if the people chose it.  Not so fast, his hands might be tied.

Even though Barack Obama has been re-elected with over-whelming electoral votes, he might not become one of those US Presidents who expanded the US territory.

Because -
  • the House of Representatives would have a Republican majority, the GOP members may not be ready to welcome PR into the Union, so fast.
  • though one of the 2 major parties in Puerto Rico and a major winner in this election, the NPP, caucuses with the Republicans nationally and is seen as the GOP ‘branch’ of PR (and is pro-statehood), they are too left-of-centre by conventional Republican standards.
  • to an outsider, PR being overwhelmingly Catholic, would appear a logical blend with the GOP in matters of Abortion and Gay Rights.  But both the NPP and PDP are too left-of-centre regarding fiscal-conservatism and small government - the other 2 major planks of GOP of present.
  • while Republicans in the House may be appeased with additional electoral votes in traditional Republican strongholds to offset the electoral votes of PR, there is no such compromise possible for the Senate seats.  Once PR is accepted into the Union, they’d be automatically entitled to 2 Senate seats, which would increase Democrats hold over the Senate.
So, unless Obama manages to pull something special out of the bag, it seems Puerto Rico will have to wait for the time when Democrats control both the Houses of Congress.

By then, hopefully the Floridians would have officially decided that they have voted for Obama.


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