Pete Buttigieg is one of the lesser-known candidates in the 2020 presidential race. However, Slate says that he has potential to capture the attention of the American people. “Buttigieg brings up the possibility of abolishing the Electoral College and granting statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico,” they wrote. “He’s ‘just asking’ whether doing either ‘makes sense,’ but if he’s ever ready to answer those questions in the affirmative, his campaign would instantly become impossible to ignore.”

Specifically, Buttigieg described himself as “Asking whether it makes sense to continue to go on with fellow American citizens in places like D.C. and Puerto Rico denied full political representation.”

Does that mean that he supports statehood for Puerto Rico? Quite a few news outlets have said so. But he may just be talking about changing the way the U.S. votes.

American people don’t vote for presidents; states do

The voters in each state vote in presidential elections. The electors for each state then take their knowledge of their states’ winners to the Electoral College. The electors vote for president, usually following the preferences of voters in their states. The candidate voted in by the Electoral College, not the candidate chosen by the popular vote, is the winner.

So it is actually the states rather than the people who vote for the president.

Buttigeig wants the vote for Puerto Rico

In a podcast, Buttigieg said, “It’s OK to ask whether we have the right setup on the Supreme Court or whether the House has the right number of representatives or whether the U.S. has the right number of states, which by the way it doesn’t.”

Asked whether he was talking about statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico, Buttigieg responded, “D.C. for sure. Puerto Rico, look the Puerto Ricans have some decisions to make but even there, I think on day one, I would make the case that they should at least have a voice in the electoral process for the presidency.”

That’s not strong support for statehood for Puerto Rico. Saying that “even there… they should at least have a voice” is not strong support for equal rights for Puerto Rico.

We want a clear answer

Help us out by clicking the tweet below. It will show up on your Twitter account, and maybe Buttigieg will answer the question.

@PeteButtigieg do you support statehood for Puerto Rico? #PR51st Share on X

We want clear answers from all the candidates. No wiggle room, no mugwumps.



One response

  1. Thanks for explaining how mixed up this guy is and why Slate does not substantiate the claim he has potential to sustain public scrutiny. He says “DC for sure.” Yet, there is no historical precedent for DC to become a state. All states admitted after the first 13 were territories governed and admitted to the union under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution. Thirty-two were Article IV territories, four are formed out of original states, and Texas like California declared itself a republic before it was admitted. Puerto Rico is the only remaining Article IV territory that has petitioned formally for statehood, and it has voted twice for statehood in more decisive acts of democratic self-determination than most of the 32 territories governed by Article IV that became states. In contrast, DC is governed by Congress under Article I of the Constitution as a federal seat of government in which U.S. citizens have been given special representation in the Electoral College, which is a failed gesture that does not save the problem of equal voting rights. In fact, to secure voting rights in DC the only precedent is the return of half of the original DC that was ceded to the federal government by Virginia. When residents of greater Alexandria in the original boundaries of DC decided they wanted equal rights of both national and state citizenship they chose to re-join the state of Virginia. So they petitioned Congress to cede the Virginia half of DC back to the state from whence it came. If the residents of the current Article I federal reservation want equal rights with citizens of the states the only precedent is “retrocession” back to the state that ceded its sovereign rights to the federal government. Maryland did not cede its sovereign state territory to create an Article IV territory or to add a new state to share power with the other states. If Congress does not want or need the Maryland part of DC as a federal district any longer, it should be returned to Maryland, or at a minimum Maryland should be required to give its permission for the area it ceded for the federal district to become a state, just as Article IV required the four states formed from original states (Vermont, Kentucky, Maine and West Virginia) required approval of secession by the legislatures of the original states (New York, Virginia, Massachusetts and Virginia). Retrocession could reduce the federal seat of government to the Capital Mall and the 23rd Amendment can be repealed, giving the currently disenfranchised residents of DC full and equal rights of national and state citizenship. Abolishing the Electoral College is another unsustainable idea that only further raises the question of why anyone should ay attention to this guy. Without the Electoral College New York California and Florida would rule the nation. There would no longer be a population based apportionment of political power to all 50 states in election of the President. A few states would choose the President and apportionment in the legislative branch would no longer distribute power to all the states. The Senate would become more powerful and the House far less powerful. Instead of shifting alliances between large and small states the large states would form a fixed alliance. Do I need to go on? This guy needs to take a high school civics class, along with those among his contemporaries who apparently ditched class when the teacher was explaining the Constitution.

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