We have heard many arguments for and against statehood. One of the silliest, which we are seeing in social media recently, is that the United States already has enough states.
We have asked people why they think we should not have more states, but they have not answered us. We have seen people claiming that “50 is a round number” or, completely contrary to fact, that “We’ve always had 50 states.” This may be a statement too silly to support.
But we have seen it, so we decided to explore possible reasons for thinking this.
We would have to change the flag
The flag of the United States has 50 stars. Once Puerto Rico joins the Union, the flag will need 51 stars.
The flag has changed many times before.
This particular change would not be a very big change, either. The EU greeted Mike Pence with a 51-star flag in Brussels in 2017, and it took a long time for anyone to notice.
Software can distribute 51 stars evenly on the blue background of the flag’s corner, and you can already buy flags with that simple design change. Making the new flag will just require the flag makers to uploadoad a new digital file, and the embroidery machines will make a flag with 51 stars. It will not cost more than a 50 star flag.
The largest flag-making company in the nation currently makes about 10 million flags each year. A new flag will increase demand and could create new jobs for people to run the embroidery machines and the sewing machines, as well as the people who sell the flags and fulfill the orders.
The United States shouldn’t increase its size
Maybe the people who think 50 states is plenty worry that the United States would get bigger. Overseas news on Puerto Rico often puts it this way: the United States might grow, now that Puerto Rico has chosen statehood again.
But the United States already owns Puerto Rico. Admitting Puerto Rico as a state will not enlarge the property owned by the United States. In fact, the new statehood bill specifies that Puerto Rico will have the same dimensions as a state that it does now.
The U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to add new states, and doesn’t limit the number of possible states. The idea that the United States would get too big for its britches if Puerto Rico becomes a state is not founded on anything.
Democrats want more states
This might be the real reason some people oppose adding any more states. Right now, Republicans are in the minority in the United States, but they have half the seats in the Senate. The Atlantic is among the many news sources that has suggested that Democrats could benefit by adding more states.
Instead of saying, “I want to make sure that the people of the United States are not fairly represented,” some might just be saying, “No more states.”
The ironic part of this is that Puerto Rico probably would be a swing state. Washington, D.C., might enter as a blue state, and Puerto Rico could be the red state to balance it…unless Republicans harp on this so much that they turn Puerto Ricans away from their party.