I’ve never, ever heard any mention of the US territories getting a vote. They have no representation in Congress correct? Yet, they have a say in the Presidential elections? Pardon my ignorance, but I thought that was one clear-cut distinction between a US State and a US Territory. This begs the question…what then is the distinction?
The primaries are NOT federal elections! The political parties can involve whichever persons they choose to select the candidate to run for President. The parties have opted to involve US citizens living in US territories in their selection process. They could just as well involve the people of France, if they chose; they figure that involving the french would probably not enhance their candidate’s chances however.
It begs nothing of the sort, but that’s a topic for a different thread. Guam is represented by one none-voting member in Congress. Washington, DC on the other hand is not represented at all. However, they are all U.S. citizens (as are those in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Guam (and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and I think American Samoa too) are subject to decisions and actions by the President and Congress. Not being states (or D.C. as per the 23rd Amendment), they have no vote for President, and no vote in Congress, though they do have delegates who may vote in committee but not in formal votes of the House.
The political parties have decided that since they’re subject to the decisions of the successful candidate after inauguration, they’re entitled to a voice in the candidate selection process. And that seems fair and logical.
There doesn’t have to be any logic or fairness involved. The Democrats could decide that they’re going to choose their candidate by throwing a dart at a random page torn out of the Houston phone book and as long as the dart lands on an over 35 year old citizen, they can run that person.
Polycarp got it re: political situation of the overseas territories. To make matters a little more interesting, the fifth “unincorporated territory”, the Northern Mariana Islands, does not have a nonvoting Congressman Delegate but instead elects a “Resident Representative” who’s a sort of official lobbyist-at-large in Washington. Natives of PR, VI, GU and the NMI are US citizens, while those of American Samoa are the odd category of “US Nationals”.
The National Parties have for over a century allowed representation in the conventions of the nonstate territories – after all, the National Interest is affected and affects the interests of the residents in the territories, and until 1912, there were multiple nonstate territories within the US contiguous land borders. I know for a fact that PR was sending delegates to the conventions in the period 1904-1916, **before ** full citizenship was extended to our residents. Traditionally what was done was that territories would be allocated a number of floor votes smaller than what they’d have as a state, and they’d be limited as to the offices within the National Committee those delegates could hold. In the case of the Dems, at least since the creation of the current pledged/superdelegate tiers, the DNC allocates pledged delegates to the territories proportionally as if we were a state and our delegates can hold National Committee offices w/o limitation. (And, in the case of PR the Democratic and Republican parties do NOT compete in our local elections, so you have the situation that within our own local political parties you’ll have people in the same local party ticket who associate themselves with opposing national parties)
You could say similar things about states like Indiana that vote almost exculsively Republican in presidental elections, why should they have any say in the Democratic nomination. Look at all the southern states Obama won that are going to vote Republican anyway. He won the nomination based on that. (Yes he’s gonna win).
So why not give everyone a chance. It makes as much sense as anything else.
The first national convention to seat a territorial delegation was the founding Republican convention, in 1856. They had compelling reason to do so–the Republican Party owed its existence to the conflict over slavery in the territories, and Republicans in “Bleeding Kansas” were on the front lines. The convention seated and showcased a delegation from Kansas Territory.
After the Civil War, other reasons emerged to seat territories–territories in that era were future states, and it made sense to get your future voters organized and invovled as early as possible. The Democrats saw the light and began seating territories in 1884.
Come the Spanish-American War, and territories became “unincorporated” and were no longer future states–not for a long time, if ever. But conventions continued to seat them, before anybody gave the matter much thought–the Philippines and Puerto Rico were seated as early as 1904. The Canal Zone, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and (this year, Republicans only) Northern Marianas joined later.
The early caucuses in these lands were something less than exercises in mass participation. Delegations were selected by tiny caucuses of American expats, army officers, and colonial administrators. When Boston Mayor James M. Curley found himself frozen out of his home-state delegation in 1932, he contrived to get himself elected as a delegate from Puerto Rico instead.
There was a poignant moment at the 1944 Republican Convention when the Philippines was called, and reported that it was unable to send a delegation because under occupation by the enemy.
As noted above, Democrats in 1976 added a delegation for United States citizens living abroad, who often find it difficult to vote in presidential primaries and (especially) caucuses.
The NMI inclusion leaves a sour taste in my mouth because of the sweatshop and sex slavery that’s so prevalent (in Saipan and other NMI islands), and the Republican connections to preserving both institutions by blocking labor laws that are in practice everywhere else in the US and territories from having force in the NMI. Former Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio and Bob Schaffer (currently running for Senate) of Colorado, Reps. John Doolittle and Richard Pombo of California, and disgraced and convicted crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff are all involved in this thing.
It’s no surprise that the Republicans are seating delegates from the NMI. I’m betting there are no Chinese sex slaves represented in that delegation.
jayjay, this kind of political commentary is not appropriate for GQ. Please read the General Questions Rules sticky at the top of this forum. If you want to express your personal opinions on this issue, take it to GD or the Pit. Do not do this again.