While the Democrats are making noise of possibly making either the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or Washington, DC (or both) the next state(s), the GOP does have an ace up their sleeve.
But that same ace has some ragged edges that could stymie hopes for another Republican state being admitted to the Union.
Of all the six US populated possessions, only one has a Republican governor and a Republican legislature. Specifically, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI).
Gov. Ralph Torres was one of the first American governors to endorse the Trump candidacy in 2016, as noted by the Guam Pacific Daily News.
Also noted by the CNMI’s official legislature’s website, there simply are no Democrats in both the Commonwealth’s Senate and House. With an obvious Republican majority, there are a smattering of self-described Independents.
Consisting of fourteen islands (only three of them with a permanent population, at least officially) directly to the north of the US Territory of Guam, most State-Siders have never even heard of the island chain.
Something else that most Americans are unaware of; federal law states that any given territory seeking statehood must have a population of at least 60,000.
The CNMI falls about 3,500 shy. Luckily for them, the same federal ordinance says nothing about how the population verification should take place.
With the 2020 Census already completed, if and when the CNMI should take a shot at becoming a new state, they won’t have to wait for the once-every-10-years nose count. There really is no reason why Gov. Torres can’t order a new territorial-wide population count whenever he sees fit.
One other thing… both times during the 20th Century, two states at a time were admitted. First Arizona and New Mexico; then Alaska and Hawaii. It was an unwritten rule in Congress that one of each of the two new states would be Republican, the other Democrat.
In the meantime, while the media and the Democrats scream of Puerto Rico and/or DC becoming state(s), The Week notes that any entity seeking another star on the flag would require a two/thirds vote in both the Senate and the House. Then the proposal requires approval by the POTUS.
It’s a fair bet that a healthy high school senior has a better chance of dying of COVID, than either party having a super-majority in the Legislative Branch.
Even if the Dems take the Presidency and slim majorities in the Senate and House, a GOP minority could still stop it.
Best best the Dems will settle on DC over Puerto Rico. For no other reason, not only will each new state get two US Senators, both DC and the CNMI will be apportioned a single US Congressman (one Representative per 800,000 and less).
While DC has a population of roughly 700,000, Puerto Rico has slightly over three million.
With a new GOP dominated state (CNMI), the GOP will gladly co-approve of DC statehood (and only one Representative) instead of Puerto Rico with at least three new Democrat Congressmen.
Besides, while liberals have a slight majority in both Puerto Rico’s Senate and House, the island’s governor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, is a Republican. Of course, the Democrats will choose solid blue DC any day of the week.
In the meantime, Republican delegates to this year’s GOP National Convention are still proudly touting the Commonwealth as “The most Republican territory.”