It is not actually clear that new states are on the agenda should Democrats win in November. House Democrats have passed a bill to admit the District of Columbia as a state, and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velázquez of New York have introduced a bill to let Puerto Ricans hold a binding referendum on their future, but Senate Democrats are still somewhat silent on the issue.
Nonetheless, congressional Republicans have raised the specter of new states as they fight to defend their majority in the Senate.
In June, after the House passed its D.C. statehood bill, Senate Republicans went on a tear against the measure, with Lindsey Graham of South Carolina condemning it as an unconstitutional power grab that would “empower the most radical agenda in modern American politics.” Later, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, used his time at the Republican National Convention to warn of dire consequences should the District become a state.
They want to defund the police and take away your Second Amendment rights. They want free health care for illegal immigrants, yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans. They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights. And they want to codify all this by making the swamp itself, Washington, D.C., America’s 51st state. With two more liberal senators, we cannot undo the damage they’ve done.
More recently, on Fox News, Graham — fighting an unusually tough battle for re-election against his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison — warned of a “parade of horribles” should Republicans lose the Senate and the White House. “If they win, it is not going to be about a health care debate, he said, referring to the last period of unified Democratic control in 2009, “they are going to structurally change the country to make it harder for a Republican to get elected president. They are going to make D.C. a state, altering the balance of power in the Senate.”
On Twitter, likewise, Senator John Cornyn of Texas — also in a competitive race for re-election against the Democratic challenger MJ Hegar — warned that a Democratic majority in Congress would make D.C. and Puerto Rico states, adding four additional members to the Senate. This would also, he said, mean “nine new members of the Electoral College, equivalent of New Mexico and New Hampshire combined.” Presumably, these states would also vote Democratic in the next presidential election.