Asked about statehood for Puerto Rico and for the District of Columbia, Mitch McConnell said in an interview with Fox News that “this is full bore socialism on the march in the House, and, yeah, as long as I am Majority Leader in the Senate none of that stuff is going anywhere.”
He had expressed his belief that both Puerto Rico and D.C. would send Democratic representatives to the Senate. Puerto Rico actually has elected both Republican and Democratic leaders over the years. McConnell does not seem to remember this.
He might also have forgotten that the Republican Party’s official platform has been to “support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state.”
But the biggest surprise might be the idea that giving U.S. citizens the right to vote in presidential elections, full representation in the legislature, and equality through statehood is a sign of socialism.
“Mitch McConnell thinks that allowing the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to become states is ‘socialism,'” tweeted Bernie Sanders. “Well, that’s another reason why I’m a proud Democratic Socialist.”
This may be Sanders speaking up for statehood for the first time, but statehood is not socialism.
Watch the full clip, and it appears that McConnell is describing Democratic attempts to increase their party’s influence as “socialism on the march.” He doesn’t seem to be claiming that statehood itself is a socialist idea.
That’s good, because statehood clearly is not socialism.
Statehood will give the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico — and everyone born in Puerto Rico is a U.S. citizen, ever since 1917 — full voting rights and equality under the law. Statehood will allow the people of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory for more than a century, the opportunity to participate fully in U.S. democracy.
Having given the effect of confusing socialism with democracy, McConnell went on to say that “none of that stuff,” including statehood for Puerto Rico, “is going anywhere.” We hope that Republicans and Democrats alike will take up the challenge and see to it that statehood for Puerto Rico is part of the legacy of this Congress.
Tell your lawmakers that you support statehood for Puerto Rico.