Last updated on March 23, 2021
It always seemed absurd to me that hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens have no effective representation in Congress. And I’m not just talking about Alabamans.
But to hear some conservatives tell it, that’s as it should be because, you know, D.C. doesn’t have a car dealership. And they already make their voices heard with “Honk if You Love Venezuela-Style Socialism” bumper stickers—which are widely regarded as the TruckNutz of progressive urban redoubts like Washington.
And, sure, I get that D.C. is small, but it has a larger population than both Wyoming and Vermont, and it’s in the ballpark with wildlife-dominated landmasses like Alaska and North Dakota.
That said, it’s hardly a surprise that conservatives are against D.C. statehood. It would mean two extra reliably liberal senators, and Republicans love and cherish their unfair electoral advantages and would very much like to keep them.
But for all the crowing about the wholesome conservative values of the heartland, our country has actually been tilting in a progressive direction for some time now. Republican presidential candidates have won the popular vote only once in the last 32 years, and progressive priorities like Medicare for All and paid maternity leave generally poll well.
So there’s really no reason D.C. shouldn’t be a state, other than the fact that conservatives don’t want it to be. And, man oh man, they’re going to trot out every lame excuse they can muster to maintain the status quo.
First up is Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, who thinks D.C. should simply never be a state because it doesn’t have a car dealership.
During a hearing on D.C. statehood legislation, Hice complained that making the nation's capital a state would give it “special” treatment even though its nearly 700,000 residents currently have no representation in either chamber of Congress.
Hice then tried to claim that D.C. lacks the features of other states throughout the country.
“It would be the only state, the only state without an airport and without a car dealership and without a capital city and without a landfill!” he fumed. “D.C. statehood would be a money grab from neighboring states and a power grab!”
Erm, okay. Except as RawStory points out, D.C. residents have no problem finding car dealerships in their area. Because it’s a modern American city, not a Himalayan Sherpa village. Also, there are plenty of airports in the D.C. area. Oh, and also, why the fuck does any of that matter? It’s a city of nearly 700,000 souls who continue to endure the undemocratic scourge of taxation without representation.
But wait! You say it has no meaningful representation? Don’t be naive, you softheaded liberal snowflake.
ZACK SMITH, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: “The framers also wanted to avoid one state having undue influence over the federal government. There’s no question that D.C. residents already impact the national debate. For the members here today, how many of you saw D.C. statehood yard signs or bumper stickers or banners on your way to this hearing today? I certainly did. Where else in the nation could such simple actions reach so many members of Congress?”
Sure, it’s nice to have two senators and a House rep working diligently on my behalf in Congress, but what I really want is for Mitch McConnell to see my yard sign on his way to work. Because I know if he does the scales will instantly fall from his eyes and he’ll stop being such an obstructionist prick.
Sure, let’s go with that.
No, conservatives don’t want D.C. to become a state for the same reason Donald Trump and his lawless cabal didn’t want to count votes from Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Detroit: People in those cities are the “wrong” voters. How dare buttinskys like Stacey Abrams get them registered and out to the polls? What’s the point in doing all that work to discourage those voters if they’re going to come out and vote anyway? It’s a fucking outrage!
I can only assume the weak-sauce excuses will keep flying. It remains to be seen if they’re as creatively gormless as the ones they presented on Monday.
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