From Territories to States

Last night, John Oliver used his show Last Week Tonight to discuss the often-ignored topic of U.S. territories, and how U.S. citizens and nationals living in U.S. territories have been systematically denied both the right to vote in federal elections, as well as fair representation in Congress, for decades. While it might seem ironic to have someone who speaks in a British accent lecture America about taxation without representation, the fact is that Mr. Oliver was correct in both his facts, and his analysis of said facts.

For decades the United States has relegated those U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals who live in any of the United States’ territories to second-class citizenship, whereby said people can carry U.S. Passports, but aren’t extended the same right to vote or right to representation which are now enjoyed by U.S. citizens living in U.S. states.


While voters in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have both expressed interest in their respective jurisdictions transitioning to full statehood, the unfortunate reality is that the Republican Party has stonewalled either from accomplishing this goal for decades for purely partisan reasons. The reason for this is that polls have shown that if either were to be granted full statehood, the populations of both DC and Puerto Rico would overwhelmingly vote for Democrats in upcoming elections.

Here at Perfect Republic, we believe the partisan stonewalling of territories that are seeking full-statehood is absolutely contrary to the essence of who we are as a nation, and as a people. That’s why we’re calling for a coordinated effort to achieve the admission of three new states to the Union: Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Oceania.

While there have been numerous proposals to endow both Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia with full statehood, we believe that John Oliver is philosophically correct in his argument that U.S. citizens and nationals living in territories deserve to share in the same right to vote and right to representation in Congress as any other Americans. To this end, we’re supporting not only the admission of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as full states, but the creation of a 53rd state called Oceania, which includes within its jurisdiction all of the remaining U.S. territories, including uninhabited islands and atolls.

By creating a state that encompasses all remaining U.S. territories, we would be expanding the right to vote and the right to representation in Congress to all U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals who currently live in parts of the United States that aren’t currently classified as states. Despite that many of these territories are spread out across the globe, the fact is that they share many characteristics that would benefit from shared representation in Congress. For example, every populated U.S. territory has a vested interest in passing laws designed to curtail global warming, increase investment in infrastructure, and improve existing governmental services, from education to health care.

By admitting DC and Puerto Rico into the Union, then consolidating America’s remaining territories into a single state, we would ensure that every American is represented in Congress. And that, we believe, is the American thing to do.

If you'd like to watch the clip of Last Week Tonight referred to in this article, here it is:

Note: This post was originally published on on March 9, 2015. Slight edits were made to update the post when it was transferred to Perfect Republic.

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