Statehood for Washington, DC

To insure full representation of all citizens in Congress,  Washington DC should become a state. There is currently a non voting delegate in the Senate and House of Representatives.  No one  wants membership on the Committees on the District of Columbia in either house.   I believe it goes to those with little political clout.

The first President since Thomas Jefferson to take an active interest in Washington, DC was Herbert Hoover.  He was very proud of his accomplishments in public works for the District as both Secretary of Commerce and President.   To quote him: “I am glad that the opportunity has come to me as President to contribute to the impulse and leadership in the improvement of our national capital. This is more than the making of a beautiful city. Washington is not only the capital, it is the symbol of America.  By its dignity and and architectural inspiration we stimulate pride in our country, we encourage that elevation of thought and character which comes from great architecture.”    It is ironic that Washington DC residents, who live in the city that symbolizes democracy, have no voice in Congress.

In fact 1964, 175 years after the ratification of the Constitution, was the first time that  Washington residents could vote for President.  The 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution permits citizens in the District of Columbia to vote for Electors for President and Vice President.  Congress proposed the amendment on June 17, 1960 and the States ratified it on March 29, 1961. The  amendment restricts the district to the number of Electors of the least populous state, irrespective of its own population.  Even without this clause, the district’s present population would only entitle it to three Electors.

The 23rd Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Washington has been heavily Democratic in each Presidential Election.  The 1972 and 1984 elections really show the District’s preference.  Both George McGovern in 1972 and Walter Mondale in 1984 got the percentage of the vote in DC by twice that of the entire nation.
1972-McGovern carried one state, Massachusetts by 54 %; had 39% of the national popular vote, and won DC with 78%.
1980-Mondale carried one state, his home base of Minnesota, narrowly with 50.4%; had 41% of the national popular vote; and won DC with 80%.

There now are seven states with three electoral votes-Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Vermont.  Washington, DC has more people than some of them and a  population density greater than all of them. The density of population is the major when we look at social and economic problems.  Statehood would greatly help the District at least make a dent in these problems.

Proponents of Statehood call Washington, DC our last colony.  To some degree, they are correct.   Washington DC should be our 51st state.


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