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Democrats increasingly believe that the American electoral system is skewed against them. But with a bare majority in the House and a “tiebreaker majority” in the Senate, and facing congressional midterm elections expected to boost the out party, their window to make any long-lasting changes to that system could close in 18 months.
Most of the solutions that they tout to fix this have no bipartisan support. The massive election reform and voting rights bill H.R. 1 has become anathema on much of the Right, and D.C. statehood faces united opposition from Republicans as well as potential constitutional complications.
But there is one structural reform to American politics that has bipartisan support, with the backing of politicians ranging from Elise Stefanik, who might soon replace Liz Cheney in House GOP leadership, to Jamie Raskin, the impeachment manager in Donald Trump’s post-Jan. 6 trial for inciting the attack on the Capitol. It is Puerto Rican statehood.
Admitting the Caribbean commonwealth that has been part of the United States since 1898 would add two senators and five members of the House. In the analysis of Democratic data scientist David Shor, “the impact of Puerto Rico statehood on [Democrats’] chance of holding the House is only a little bit smaller than ending partisan gerrymandering.”
So, what’s the holdup? Some of the most ardent opposition to Puerto Rican statehood comes from the Left.
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