Jul 30, 2020

Why DC Cannot Become a State, Explained


The Pesky Thing Called the Constitution.

Democrats are barking up the wrong tree with a proposal to make Washington DC a new state. This would be a major shift politically and for precedent. Unfortunately, as we discuss below-- this shift would be a negative one. The issue is a major political football, even during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Democrats want at least three extra seats in Congress without a major effort. Consider that DC regularly votes about 90% for Democrats each election.

By giving DC statehood, there is a new Governor and members of Congress in the blue column. However, this flies in the face of the Constitution. The Founders specifically did not want the national capital to curry special favor. It was meant to be a place to run the country-- and is now becoming an imperial capital in many ways.

Why Not?

It's not just a matter of precedent. And it's not just a matter of Republicans being opposed. The Constitution specifically bars the capital territory from being a state. Democrats sponsored legislation in Congress to make DC a state by a margin of 232-180. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution created the District through the cession of Maryland and Virginia (although VA's portion was later retro-ceded back to the state). There is no path available to create a DC state without a Constitutional Amendment.

The last Amendment to handle the issue created more precedent. The 23rd Amendment allowed votes in the Electoral College but no representation in Congress or about statehood. Add all this together, and DC cannot be a state by current means.

The Democrats know this and continue playing political football. It's bad for DC. It's bad for our current politics. Adding in another state through extra - Constitutional means would be a disaster for our legal system. We deserve better-- starting with a basic lesson on government and our shared history.