The Case for D.C. Statehood Now

D.C. isn’t a state because the Republican Party would sooner boil Mitch McConnell and eat him in a savory soup (getting the roux right is critical) than give a city that voted 92% for Biden two Senators and a Representative.

by Chris Thomas

We’re all still reeling from the events of January 6, 2021.  The image of violent insurrectionists storming the Capitol is one that has no place in the United States. We are supposed to be better than that.

But as the Capitol Police struggled to protect House and Senate members from a violent mob something else became clear: Washington, D.C. is hamstrung by its peculiar legal status.  Unable to call out its own national guard, Washingtonians were left at the mercy of an inept, vindictive administration unwilling to control the violence it had unleashed.

And that wouldn’t have happened if Washington, D.C. were a state.

Some 712,800 people live in the District of Columbia.  That makes the foreshortened diamond on the banks of the Potomac more populated than Vermont or Wyoming.  If you include the student populations of the District’s universities and colleges, it surpasses Alaska and North Dakota as well.

Yet those 712,800 Americans lack even a single vote in Congress.  They pay federal taxes, are subject to federal law (more so than most; Congress officially administers the District), and yet have no voting representation in their government.

D.C. wants statehood; but so far Congress has been unwilling to grant it.

There are, yes, some legal complications.  The entire notion of the District as a separate entity from the states arose due to a protest outside of the Continental Congress in 1783.  Pennsylvania declined to deploy its militia to deal with the issue (sound familiar?) and so the “District Clause” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17) was added to the Constitution to ensure that Congress would control the immediate area around the Capitol.

But these are resolvable issues.  The reason D.C. has not been granted statehood isn’t because Congress fears that it won’t be able to disperse an unruly mob of unpaid minutemen or Trump supporters.  It is because D.C. would instantly become the most urbanized and Blackest state in the Union. 46% of the District’s population is Black and 100% of its citizens live in urban or dense suburban environments. Both of those are strong predictors for liberal politics and Democratic votes.

D.C. isn’t a state because the Republican Party would sooner boil Mitch McConnell and eat him in a savory soup (getting the roux right is critical) than give a city that voted 92% for Biden two Senators and a Representative.

And that’s exactly why it should be the #1 priority of the new Democratic majority in the Senate.  Making D.C. a state addresses many of the security concerns raised by the January 6th insurrection. It strengthens the Democratic majority in the Senate, making the entire US government a little less dependent on Joe Manchin (D-WV), and it just so happens to be the right thing to do.  Americans fought a war with the rallying cry “no taxation without representation.” Today, D.C. has it on their licence plates.

What you can do

Send congressContact your U.S. Senators & U.S. House representative or senateContact your senators in the U.S. Senate to 50409 and lobby your legislator to vote for statehood for the plot of land that is our seat of government and give them the power to protect themselves.

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