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In March, the House of Representatives voted to allow the commonwealth of Puerto Rico to hold a referendum on statehood. Although the Senate is expected to sit on the idea indefinitely, advocates of D.C. statehood are not pleased. It was only five years ago, after all, that a supposedly more sympathetic Democratic Congress squashed statehood for our capital city in an embarrassingly lopsided 277-153 vote.

To some, the tacit approval of Puerto Rican statehood is especially galling in light of D.C.’s more statelike behavior. One of the main differences: Our amigos in the Indies are curently exempt from federal taxes; statehood would mean more money in federal coffers. But a brief glance at some of the other disparities between the two might explain both why Puerto Rico would make a better state than D.C. and why the Latino-courting GOP might prefer it.

—Jake Tapper

Candidates Puerto Rico District of Columbia
Population 3,782,862 543,213
Climate Mild; mean temperature of 77 F Unbearable summer humidity; wearisome, drab winters
Official Motto “Joannes est Nomen ejus” (John is his name) “Justicia Omnibus” (Justice for all)
Unofficial Motto (drug-induced) “Gatillo al chota” (Shoot down the snitch)—ubiquitous graffiti slogan “The bitch set me up”—Mayor Marion Barry
Local Government Democratically elected representative house Democratically elected but federally baby-sat council
Language Spanish Bureaucratic gobbledygook
Political litmus test 82% pro-life
91% pro-school prayer
Mayor Barry endorsed a 1997 initiative to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes
Voter registration Not known (Puerto Ricans can’t vote in U.S. elections) 78% Democrat
7% Republican

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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