Let me make this clear. DC should be a state. So should Puerto Rico. It is wrong that over 3.8 million American citizens in these two territories are not fully represented like most other Americans (excluding the Virgin Islanders, Guamanians, Northern Mariana Islanders, and American Samoans who also have no representation). These people are taxed just like any other American citizen, but they have no say in how that money is spent. Not having a voice in congress makes it harder for them to get the services they pay for. There are many reasons why these people deserve representation in congress and why they should both be states.
But one thing we need to keep in mind is that making these two territories into states is not going to stop the gridlock in congress. We don’t know which party will represent Puerto Rico in Congress. Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly is tightly split between the Popular Democratic Party and New Progressive Party. No party in Puerto Rico consistently receives over 50% of the vote and that makes it extremely difficult to determine how a US Senate election in Puerto Rico will play out, especially if they stick with the inherently broken First Past the Post voting system which every state except Maine currently uses.
When it comes to Washington DC we know almost for certain that Washington DC is going to appoint two Democrats to the Senate. Washington DC has never voted for a Republican President since the 23rd amendment was ratified, so it is an all but guaranteed two additional seats for the Democratic Party.
If we were to grant Washington DC Statehood this year however, it won’t change anything about our government’s dysfunction, and Joe Manchin will still be effectively the most powerful man in America. It will now take 51 seats to change Senate rules, and we will likely have no more than 50 votes in favor of the nuclear option. The Filibuster will stay at least for this session, and Joe Manchin will remain the most powerful man in America. Republicans will continue to stonewall on everything they legally can, and congress will continue to be dysfunctional.
The one thing this does change however is that in the 2022 senate elections we only need to pick up one more seat to trigger the nuclear option instead of the two seats we need now. The 2022 map looks like this in the most pessimistic scenario for the Democrats:
Mark Kelly is likely going to win Arizona, and if Tim Ryan runs in Ohio and Ted Deutch runs in Florida those states are tossups in the worst possible scenario for the Democrats. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Ron Johnson won only 50% of the vote in Wisconsin in 2016, and if he runs against Josh Kaul the seat is at worst a tossup. John Fetterman is likely going to win Pennsylvania next year, but since this is the most pessimistic scenario within the bounds of a place I like to call reality, Pennsylvania is actually a likely Democratic pickup. This map assumes that the organizing in Georgia declines compared to last year, which is obviously a terrible assumption to make.
The more likely map for the 2022 election is actually something like this. This map assumes the following candidates win their primaries in key battleground states:
- Arizona: Mark Kelly
- Florida: Ted Deutch
- Georgia: Raphael Warnock
- North Carolina: Cheri Beasley
- Ohio: Tim Ryan
- Pennsylvania: John Fetterman
All of these candidates have experience and are popular.
As you can see, with the right candidates we can absolutely win the Senate in 2022 in key battleground states. There are no vulnerabilities for the Democratic Party next year, and unless if we nominate some apologetic doormats like Joe Manchin who keeps bashing the Democratic Party and speaking out against vital legislation, we will likely win the Senate election next year.
If we pass HR 1 we will definitely win the Senate next year.
But making Washington DC a state is not going to change the fact that next year’s map for the Democrats (with the right candidates) is highly favorable, and that the only realistic way to get anything done this session is for Manchin and Sinema to join the Democratic Party and support our platform.
Anything else is pure fantasy.