The Truth About DC Statehood

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted along party lines to establish Washington, DC as the 51st state. The areas surrounding the National Mall, White House, and Capitol Hill would remain a federal district. The remainder of DC would be granted statehood and be known as the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth (named after Frederick Douglass).

Democrats claim the push for statehood is in the best interest of the area’s residents. But in reality, it has nothing to do with these folks and everything to do with power. Washington is a reliably Democratic region. Granting it statehood would give the Dems increased representation in Congress. It would also decrease the power of small states (many of them Republican). 

“The very design of the US Senate is to be a bulwark against tyranny of the majority and domination of large state interests,” argues Keith Naughton, an opinion contributor for The Hill. “Senators from small states would risk quite a bit of voting for DC statehood.”

If Democrats were actually concerned about representation, they would be advocating for the 3 million pseudo-Americans living in Puerto Rico, not the 700,000 bureaucrats living in Washington, DC.

Also, DC would function poorly if it were granted statehood given its singular economy. “The city is simply a creature of the federal government,” continues Naughton, with little-to-no manufacturing, farming, or power generation.

Roughly 35% of the city’s population works for the federal government – and that doesn’t include the army of lawyers and lobbyists living in the city. “Any Senator representing DC would serve the interests of the federal government…and that is a permanent vote for the expansion of the federal government in size, power, and financial favors.”

Perhaps the best solution is to return DC to Maryland, the state to which it originally belonged.

Retrocession would reduce the risks associated with the city’s limited economy and grant immediate representation in Congress. 

Democrats including Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) argue that opposition to DC statehood is racist based on the demographic of Washington and the fact that Vermont and Wyoming have smaller populations than DC. 

“Let’s stop making exceptions for people of color in a way that has adverse implications for them,” argues Jones. “This is an issue of racial justice in addition to being an issue of democracy. We must also stop disenfranchising people of color in this country. It’s time to stop doing that.”

The counterargument to this is that Washington was established as a neutral district for the administration of government regardless of population. 

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