The island of Puerto Rico has long wanted to gain statehood in the United States, but it seems in 2018 they are ramping up the pressure.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló is in the United States to begin a tour to build momentum to gain statehood for the island. The efforts are mainly in response to last year's Hurricane Maria that devastated the island, and many believed the recovery efforts were not sufficient.
The main thrust of Rosselló's tour will be motivating Puerto Rican voters living in the United States to vote for politicians who support statehood. 5.6 million Puerto Ricans live in American states, a significant number that could help determine political races, particularly in states like New York and Florida where they're mostly concentrated.
While Puerto Rico is a United States territory and its residents are considered U.S. citizens, the island doesn't receive the same representation in Congress or the Electoral College as regular states. And considering Puerto Rico has more citizens than 21 U.S. states, statehood definitely seems justifiable.
Another strategy Rosselló is using is not criticizing President Donald Trump. While he's attacking certain red tape and roadblocks in Washington that prevent Puerto Rico from receiving the resources it deserves, he's avoided addressing the president specifically. Trump infamously got into several Twitter exchanges with San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Cruz after she criticized the slow response to Hurricane Maria.
Of course, the hardest part for Puerto Rico receiving statehood is very members of Congress will have much motivation to allow it. After all, if you're a member of Congress from one of the 21 states with less people than Puerto Rico, voting for the island's statehood means you'll most likely lose some representation in Congress.
(h/t Washington Examiner)