Non-States Roll Call, part II – the Democratic National Convention

In a follow up to our post on how the non-states branded themselves at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, we take a look at how Democratic delegates from the non-states introduced themselves during the Roll Call vote in Charlotte.

American Samoa: Geography was front and center for Democrats and Republicans from America’s southernmost territory, as Democratic delegates last night echoed their Republican peers by branding themselves as “the only part of the United States south of the equator” In a bit of progressive flair, the American Samoan Democrats pointed out that the territory is “the land of our nation’s cleanest air.”

District of Columbia: DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s impassioned speech harkened back to the nation’s founding in resistance to taxation without representation, and could have been lifted right out of a Republican speechwriter’s notebook. Before casting the District’s votes for President Obama, Mayor Gray asked all Americans to help “bring justice and equality to the District of Columbia.” Gray’s appeal for DC voting rights stood in stark contrast to the DC Republicans’ roll call speech in Tampa. After their suggested amendment to the GOP platform calling for DC voting rights and home rule were roundly rejected by the Republican platform committee, the DC GOP meekly stated they were excited to cast their votes for candidate Mitt Romney.

Guam: Guam voiced support for President Obama’s plans for a military buildup in Guam that is “done right.” The military’s increased presence in Guam is part of the larger US strategy to rebalance military forces to the Asia-Pacific region. After lauding Obama’s support for medicare and working families, the Guam delegation voiced support for Obama’s belief in the territory’s “right to self-determination.”

Northern Mariana Islands: No delegation present, as the territory did not hold a Democratic Party primary or caucus.

Puerto Rico: Unlike the Republican Puerto Rican delegates, the Democrats made no reference to statehood. Instead, the territory’s Democrats gave a shout out to the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice, Sonia Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent and is an Obama appointee. The Delegation called Obama a “good amigo” of the people of Puerto Rico.

US Virgin Islands: In front of a nearly-empty convention hall at 12:48 AM Eastern Time, US Virgin Islands Democratic Party Chair Emmett Hansen, on behalf of the “proud Caribbean Americans” of the US Virgin Islands (USVI), called on the country to support the territory’s aspirations to one day cast votes for president in the general election. Currenly, the District of Columbia is the only non-state to have this distinction. Hansen wrapped up his short speech with a bit of a tourist pitch, casting the territory’s 12 votes from “the hills and windmills of St. Croix, the wonderful shopping in St. Thomas, and the beautiful jewel St. John.”

Pro-DC statehood billboards spring up in Charlotte, NC

With the Republican National Convention drawing to a close tonight, DC statehood advocates are beginning to focus their attention on next week’s Democratic National Convention.

If statehood proponents were disappointed by the Republican’s outright opposition to DC statehood, they’re not likely to find much solace in the Democratic platform, which it looks like will follow on the precedent set in 2008 and will only call for DC voting rights in the House of Representatives.

Statehood proponents are not giving up the fight, and have bought ad space in Charlotte, NC, where the Democrats will convene next week. Continue reading

Non-states roll call

Courtesy of Maclean’s, a run-down of how the GOP delegations from the non-states branded themselves during the Roll Call vote for the Republican presidential nominee:

American Samoa: “The only American soil in the southern hemisphere.”

District of Columbia: Apparently the DC delegation didn’t brand themselves at all, only saying that they were “excited” to vote. Perhaps they were still smarting from the RNC’s refusal to adopt their own stance on DC voting rights?

Guam: “America’s tropical paradise.”

Northern Mariana Islands: “We are strong believers in God.”

Puerto Rico: “The 51st state of the union!”

US Virgin Islands: “America’s paradise.”

Seating the non-states at the GOP Convention

A recently-published map of the convention floor provided by Politico shows that the non-states have snagged some precious real estate at the Republican National Convention this week.

(click for larger) Continue reading

GOP sidesteps language precondition for Puerto Rico in platform

At the Republican National Convention this week, the GOP will again endorse the right of Puerto Ricans to determine their future within the United States, including as the potential 51st State. The issue is especially relevant this year, because Puerto Ricans in November will have the chance to endorse the statehood option in a territorial referendum.

The Puerto Rico language of the 2012 platform is identical to that included in the previous three platforms, and, ironically, is located just two sections below the plank opposing outright statehood for the District of Columbia. It reads:

We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a State, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the US government.

Continue reading

In Tampa, party like it’s 1799

The party of small government gathered in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday to piece together its platform ahead of next weeks’ Republican National Convention. And, with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell presiding, Republican delegates voted to explicitly deny hundreds of thousands of tax paying, DC residents voting rights in the US House of Representatives.

It’s inevitable that in instances like these the question is asked: how does the party that ostensibly supports devolving federal powers to state and local communities routinely oppose extending DC the same rights enjoyed by hundreds of millions of other Americans?

There is more than just fear of more Democratic votes in the US Congress undergirding the GOP’s opposition to DC Statehood. For the movement’s intellectual leaders, who revere the Constitution as sacred text, opposition to DC voting rights has to do with adhering to the Founders’ original intent, formulated in a vastly different society over 220 years ago, and enumerated in the US Constitution. Continue reading