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By Jamie Filias

Freshman, GW

Recently, the debate over statehood for Washington DC has returned to the respective floors of both houses of Congress and sparked arguments between politicians and citizens alike. A review of the evidence will unambiguously show that Washington, DC should not become the fifty-first state. Those who are pushing for DC statehood have partisan intentions and fail to recognize their plan’s potential to fuse state and federal powers in a way that runs counter to the founders’ vision. 

 

To better understand this issue, we first have to understand what the founders intended Washington, DC to be. In Federalist 43, James Madison wrote that the federal government should operate independently from state governments, and that the federal government should have its own territory. Under article 1, section 8 of the US Constitution, “The Congress shall have Power… To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such Dis­trict (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Con­gress, become the Seat of the Gov­ernment of the United States…” One of Madison’s points in Federalist 43 was that the federal government’s proceedings could be disrupted or influenced by state powers if said capital resides within a state.

 

Democrats have recently advocated for making Washington, DC a state primarily for partisan gain, while Republicans have opposed DC statehood due to its partisan intention. After the passage of the 23rd Amendment, DC citizens could vote in presidential elections. In those presidential elections, DC has voted overwhelmingly blue. For example, Democrats won 92.2% of DC’s vote in 2020, 90.9% in 2016 and again in 2012, and 92.5% in 2008. Making DC a state would expand the legislative branch of government by adding two seats to the US Senate, and an additional seat to the House of Representatives. This move to add DC as the fifty-first state would give an obvious partisan advantage to the Democratic Party due to it’s left-leaning voter demographics. This would cripple the Republican Party’s ability to gain a majority in both legislative bodies, and particularly the Senate. It is a way for the Democratic Party to gain power — not by winning a majority of the currently existing number of seats for which both parties have long competed, but rather by changing the rules in the middle of the game. We are seeing Democrats’ same reckless attitude when it comes to the filibuster and the Electoral College as well. 

 

Democrats often argue that the federal government should provide a safety net for citizens when they need assistance. This notion of converting federal territory to state territory undermines the liberal tendency to support centralization of power in Washington. Liberals are contradicting their own principles of centralization of power through their support of DC statehood, it is fair to assume that there is most likely something else at play. Democrats are seeking to make DC a state, not for voting representation of its citizens in congress, but to steal power and gain a majority in the Senate by adding two reliably Democratic seats. 

 

Those who want a legislative branch with a balance of both parties should be stridently opposed to DC statehood. If we want a fair political system, with both Democrats and Republicans having a voice, we cannot make Washington, DC the fifty-first state. The founders intended Washington, DC to be a territory of the federal government so that it could not be influenced and compromised politically by any interest group, including a political party. The founders did not want the nation’s capital to reside within a state so that federal and state powers are kept separate. Democratic Party politicians do not seem to care for the founders’ intentions or having a political system that is fair for both sides.

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