Statehood for Washington D.C. doesn’t make sense
Just why, pray, is giving the 600,000 people who live in DC proper representation in the Congress granting us a “ridiculously outsized power.” You mean: unlike North Dakota (pop. 650,000) or Alaska (pop. 700,000)? There is simply no way to justify spending trillions to bring “democracy” to Baghdad, while refusing to grant it to America’s capital city. In fact, the US – because of this anachronism – is the only advanced democracy to bar the citizens of its own capital from having the franchise. I think this simple fact outweighs any practical argument whatever.
This makes no sense at all. First off, unlike Alaska or North Dakota, DC is at the very heart of the country’s power structure. It is the part-time residence of every one of our federal elected officials. While voters may indeed lack proper representation, giving DC the added clout of two Senators and a number of representatives, plus all the other perks that come from statehood, would vastly tip the scales in DC’s favor. Placing DC back into Maryland, as Joyner suggests, would give voters all the representation they’re lacking without giving them the sort of clout that no other city in this country enjoys.
Furthermore, just because something is unjust – and this lack of representation is certainly that – does not mean that said injustice outweighs ‘any practical argument whatever’. On the contrary, one would hope that the most practical answer which both solves this injustice without inflicting any new injustices would be very desirable. Statehood, alas, would be an injustice to the rest of America whereas placing DC back within the electoral confines of Maryland would not.
After all, if DC can be its own state based solely off of the size of its population, why shouldn’t other cities also become states? New York City has far more people than DC. Perhaps each of the Burroughs could become a state. If we’re going to use population as the deciding factor, then it’s high time we redrew the state lines across the entire country. That’s only fair.
It would look something like this:
Such a move would appeal to blue-state voters, as the traditionally blue North East would quite suddenly have a great deal more votes in the Senate, as would California, while the Midwest especially would be served the electoral equivalent of kick in the teeth.
Then again, the representative system in this country was never meant to be entirely based on population. As with every other aspect of our government, our electoral system acts as a set of checks and balances. That may be frustrating, but it is what it is. If there were millions more red-staters than blue-staters, the blue-staters would be grateful for such an arrangement. As it stands, the reverse is true.
This is why we have two bodies in Congress – the House and the Senate. Each state gets equal representation in the Senate, but not in the House. Granting DC statehood makes sense if we’re going to base our representative structure on population alone, but that’s not how this country works, and that isn’t likely to change any time soon.