The island territories and democracy

Left to right: Flags of Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and U.S. Virgin Islands. (Images from 1,2,3,4,5.)

The United States has five inhabited island territories. These five territories are not states, which means that the residents of those territories do not get to vote for representatives, senators, or presidents. They lack democratic representation — and they should have it.

There are several solutions to this problem: Statehood or independence for each territory; admission of territories as a group…