We're Talking About Statehood For DC and PR, Why Not Guam, USVI, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa?

That’s it, really. Since Biden got elected, I’ve heard talk of statehood for Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Why not the rest of the USA’s populated territories?

Gotta start somewhere…
It’s not a Democrat thing. This isn’t something that the rest of the country is trying to foist on these places. There are active statehood movements in both DC and PR.
Aiui, the residents of Amer Samoa and Guam aren’t really in favor of statehood.

These others have extremely low population.

I heard a podcast a while back, about American Samoa. The majority of the samoans really really really don’t want statehood. They don’t want citizenship. If they all become citizens, then they’ll have to chuck some of their most beloved laws, like the one that requires a person to be >50% samoan to own land, or the law about compulsory moment of silence observations on Sundays. One of the fears is that if they become a state, their island will go the way of Hawaii, control and property slipping out of their hands.

Was it this?

@mikecurtis Yes, that was it! I’d rummaged around in This American Life podcasts, thinking it was one of them, then gave up and just posted about it. But that’s the one. Really quite an interesting perspective. It’s quite the conservative Christian society there.

And, they would have to pay income tax.

The population of Wyoming is 580,000, and it’s a state. The population of Puerto Rico is 3.2 million, so it’s clearly big enough to be a state. The population of Guam, meanwhile (the next-biggest territory, if I’m not mistaken) is 170,000. While there’s no officially-set minimum possible size for a state, it’s not entirely clear that that’s large enough. Even if you combined Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, you’d still be well smaller than Wyoming.

What’s the thought in the Virgin Islands about statehood?

Self-determination[edit source]

A 1993 referendum on status attracted only 31.4% turnout, and so its results (in favor of the status quo) were considered void.[63] No further status referenda have been scheduled since.

Pop= 105,870

Considering, they don’t even have their own govt. Let’s take one step at a time.

DC has support for statehood that closely resembles election results in Syria, and it doesn’t have any of the benefits (like not paying federal income tax) that other non-states get, so it would probably be the easiest of all of them. Puerto Rico is more complicated, but it seems there may be majority support for statehood, and it’s by far the largest territory, and larger than several states, so it’s naturally the first that people would focus on. There’s also a large population of people that identify as Puerto Rican in the USA proper, and advocacy for statehood can be a way to pander for votes.

There’s not a lot of opinion polling in Guam, but in 2016 a poll found high support for statehood, and their quadrennial presidential straw poll gets fairly good turnout. There’s intermittent talk about Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands merging, which would add 57,000 to Guam’s population, but it’s less clear that the people of Guam support that (there was a merger referendum in 1969, approved in the Northern Marianas but rejected in Guam).

What does that mean?

I took it to mean that he considers a vote on statehood to be a sure thing, much like Syria’s elections for Assad (although the former would be a legitimate result, unlike the latter).

Yes, I didn’t mean to say they’d be equally legitimate.

Current populations of each of these:

Puerto Rico: 3,285,874
Washington, D.C.: 689,545
Guam: 168,485
United States Virgin Islands: 106,235
American Samoa: 51,433
Northern Mariana Islands: 49,437

Puerto Rico is more populous than 21 states, Washington, D.C. is more populous than 2 states, and the other four put together are less populous than any state.

The hardest, actually, because unlike the others, it would require a Constitutional amendment.

It’s very debatable that DC statehood would require a Constitutional amendment. Under the current House Democratic proposal, Congress would simply define the federal district as the White House, Mall and other federal properties while admitting the rest of the current district as a state. Congress could direct how the electors assigned to DC under the 23rd Amendment are awarded, for example assigning them to whichever candidate wins the most electoral votes.

I’m not convinced that Congress could, in fact, direct that those electors be chosen in some way other than election by the residents of whatever the federal district is. And they certainly couldn’t direct that it be done according to who won the nationwide popular vote, because there is no mechanism for the federal government to even officially determine who won the nationwide popular vote.

The 23rd Amendment states in part, “The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:” It certainly doesn’t require that DC’s electors be appointed by popular election – states aren’t required to appoint electors by popular election.

Which is why I suggested they could go to the candidate with the most electoral votes.