Against D.C. Statehood


Monday, May 10, 2021

Now that Democrats have retaken control of both bodies of the legislature, Far-Left policies are back on the agenda as the party sees the opportunity to usher them through. One of these bills is H.R. 51, a resolution to make Washington, D.C. a state. 

Many problems would arise if Democrats are successful in this effort, the first being that this proposed 51st state would have too much influence and control over the federal government. As a new state, D.C. would elect a governor who would be afforded many powers not currently delegated to the mayor such as control of the district’s law enforcement, national guard, and certain government buildings. Supporters of statehood argue that the authority exerted by the state of D.C. on the federal government would be no greater than that of any other state, as the proposal would carve out a 2-mile radius of land, containing buildings such as the White House and the Capitol, to be the new seat of national government. 

However, even though the White House and Capitol would be located in this new shrunken district, and the state of D.C. would have no power over them, entities such as DHS headquarters, military bases, and foreign embassies would still be located in the new state and therefore possibly be subject to the rule and regulation of the state government. This would give the state of D.C. substantial influence on government operations and foreign affairs. 

Another problem with the idea is the fact that it is simply unconstitutional. Under the Constitution, D.C. is established as a federal district to house the seat of government. In order to make it a state, the Constitution would have to be adjusted and a new amendment would have to be adopted. 

James Madison, an author of the Constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers that 

“a dependence of the members of the general government on the State comprehending the seat of government… might bring on the national councils the imputation of awe or influence.” 

The Constitution is the foundation for law in this country and the words of James Madison explain why the imperative principle of no one state government having influence over the national government is established within that foundation. 

Those arguing for statehood make other claims such as that D.C. exemplifies the concept of “taxation without representation”, stating that residents pay extremely high taxes yet have no representation in national government. However, this is not exactly true. Yes, residents of D.C. pay higher income taxes than residents of nearly half of the 50 states, but they do have representation and say in government. 

Unlike Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, D.C. is afforded the right to vote in presidential elections and has the same number of electoral votes as states such as Wyoming and Delaware. In addition to this, D.C. has a delegate to the House of Representatives who cannot cast votes on legislation but can introduce it. In fact, the delegate from D.C., Elanor Holmes Norton, is who introduced the bill to make D.C. the 51st state. 

To be realistic about arguments based on the need for representation, specifically the ones made by those associated with the Democratic Party, it’s not about representation. It’s about power. Making D.C. – one of the most heavily blue areas in the nation – the 51st state would almost guarantee that the Democrats’ majority in the Senate would increase by 2

These are just some of the problems that would stem from D.C. being granted statehood. Going forward with this radical motion would be the first step to blurring the lines to which the power in this nation lies.

Jack Applewhite is a student at the University of Georgia where he is pursuing a degree in business management. Jack aspires to attend law school and has goals of one day running for public office.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jack Applewhite

Jack Applewhite is a student at the University of Georgia where he is pursuing a degree in business management. Jack aspires to attend law school and has goals of one day running for public office.

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