Counter China by Making Guam a State

Counter China by Making Guam a State

In late September, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that “everything is on the table” if Democrats retake the U.S. Senate next month, including statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. If Congress is going to add one or more new states, it should also consider the 230,000 Americans of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

This isn’t a partisan idea. Together, Guam and the Marianas would be the ultimate swing state. (Mariana Islanders have repeatedly voted to merge with Guam as a step toward statehood.) As U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico, they currently do not get electoral votes in the presidential race. But Guam does hold nonbinding straw polls. Guamanians appear to have voted for the winner in eight out of the last 10 presidential elections: six times Democrat, four times Republican. Giving them two senators, a voting representative, and three electoral votes wouldn’t disrupt Washington’s delicate partisan balance. If anything, it would open up more space for bipartisanship, political moderation, and compromise.