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The political status of Puerto Rico is a hot-button topic in the United States. The island does not allow residents to vote in presidential elections as a territory, which means they don’t have representatives or senators in Congress.

That status also means that only some of Puerto Rico’s residents are subjected to federal income taxes.

The island has voted numerous times to pursue statehood, including a 97% affirmative vote in 2017 when less than one-quarter of eligible voters came to the polls.

Why hasn’t Puerto Rico become a state yet? It would change the balance of American politics.

What Would Puerto Rico Bring to the National Stage

Something will happen with Puerto Rico soon. World governments are calling upon the United States to allow the island to have self-determination instead of being stuck as a territory.

Those who disagree with Puerto Rico’s sovereignty express support for the island to become a state.

The issue with PR statehood involves politics. There is an expectation that most representatives would be Democratic from the island. Since every state gets two senators, that would put the Senate at 102 and a better chance for the DNC to remain the majority party.

Another problem involves the District of Columbia. There’s a similar push to make DC a state, which would create a similar scenario. There would be another two senators, likely Democrats, that could join PR in a 104-member senate.

If that were to happen today, it would give Democrats a 54-50 majority with the VP available as a tie-breaker.

What Is the Most Likely Scenario?

With a Biden Administration working in 2021, the most likely outcome in the next 4-year cycle is that nothing happens.

If there is a move toward changing the makeup of the United States, it would be to have DC join instead of Puerto Rico. That action would make it easier to implement protective measures in Washington.

That means Puerto Rico will experience at least four more years of being in limbo. Since 2016, Americans have even supported statehood, so it might be closer to reality than some people realize.

Scott Larson