ByÂ Jon Dougherty
Democrats in the House of Representatives aren’t passing much legislation that is helpful or beneficial to the country and Americans, but they are sure using their majority to virtue-signal to their unhinged base.
And you know,Â wanting to do good things, for Democrats, is the same as actually doing good things.
Like voting in favor of legislation to make Washington, D.C., a state. Or a city-state. Or some sort of entity that will produce three more Democratic legislators — one in the House and two senators — because power is all that matters.
Even House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland is now on board. He conjures up images of patriotism and historical references in arguing for DC statehood in theÂ Washington Post:
The most fundamental premise upon which American democracy stands is the right of every citizen to cast a vote and have that vote counted equally. From Bunker Hill to Bull Run, fromÂ Seneca FallsÂ to Selma, the arc of our history has been shaped by the determination of Americans to have a say in their own future.
Our founders, who prescribed the creation of a national capital not within the jurisdiction of any individual state, never intended for those living in it to be denied representation. Defending the new Constitution, James MadisonÂ assuredÂ his fellow Americans that residents of this new capital district would happily live there â€œas they will have had their voice in the election of the government which is to exercise authority over them.â€ For 228 years, our government has denied them that voice. More than 700,000 Americans remain unable to cast votes for an equal voice in Congress.
I have been hesitant in past years to call for statehood for the District because I believed that we could achieve voting rights for its residents without having to take the politically difficult steps statehood would entail. …
I now believe the only path to ensuring its representation is through statehood. Legislation granting representation in the House could be revoked in the future; statehood would bring D.C. residents a permanent voice in our elected institutions. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting delegate from the District in the House,Â has introducedÂ a bill to admit the District as a state, and I will cosponsor it.
Americans in the District have been denied not only a member with full voting rights in the House of Representatives but also two U.S. senators â€“ simply because of where they live. This continues even while the District isÂ larger in populationÂ than two states and comparable to two others.
As an advocate for voting rights throughout my life and my career in public service, I have been proud to stand on the front lines of protecting and expanding access to the ballot box and equal representation in our democracy. Thatâ€™s why, for more than 20 years, Iâ€™ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder with those calling for D.C. residents to gain equal representation in Congress.Â
Touching. And complete BS.
First and foremost, let’s start with Hoyer’s claim that our founders really, really, really wanted Americans living in the nation’s capital to have “representation.” He manipulates a quote from the ‘father’ of our Constitution, James Madison, to support his claim.
Question for Steny: Then why didn’t the framers include voting rights for residents of the “federal city” to serve as our capital in the Constitution? In fact, that was never a serious consideration.
As a better interpreter and expert on our Constitution, the Heritage Foundation, noted in 2007Â in a paper on D.C. statehood:
Because of the District’s unique character as the federalÂ city,Â neither the Framers nor ConÂgress accorded the inhabitants the right to elect Members of the House of Representatives or the Senate. In exchange, however, the District’s resiÂdents received the multifarious benefits of the national capital. As Justice Joseph Story noted inÂ Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States,Â “there can be little doubt, that the inhabiÂtants composing [the District] would receive with thankfulness such a blessing, since their own importance would be thereby increased, their interests be subserved, and their rights be under the immediate protection of the represenÂtatives of the whole Union.” In effect, the Framers believed that the residents were “virtuÂally” represented in the federal interest for a strong, prosperous capital.
Various federal courts have also upheld the Constitution’s language giving complete control over the city to Congress:
In 2000, the courts rejected a series of arguÂments suggesting that the District’s inhabitants were, on various constitutional and policy grounds, entitled to voting representation in Congress without an amendment.Â See Adams v. ClintonÂ (2000). More recently, the courts have rejected efforts to invalidate a congresÂsionally imposed limit on the District’s ability to tax nonresident commuters.Â See Banner v. United StatesÂ (2004). In that case, the court noted that, “simply putâ€¦the District and its residents are the subject of Congress’ unique powers, exercised to address the unique circumstances of our nation’s capital.
Writes Lee Casey, who served during the George H.W. Bush Administration in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, “Statehood is now the clear preference of DisÂtrict of Columbia voting-rights advocates, but the proposal has never excited much support in Congress and would, in any case, also require a constitutional amendment since an independÂent territory, subject to the ultimate authority of Congress, was a critical part of the Framers’ original design for an indestructible federal union of indestructible states.”
Hoyer knows all of this, though less experienced and far more radical members of the Democrat Party in Congress — like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — are likely unaware of these constitutional realities.
But again, it’s not really about ensuring that D.C. becomes a state, it’s only about showing youÂ care about D.C. becoming a state. So Hoyer has someone write an op-ed for him in a politically biased newspaper, the House Democratic majority gets to vote on a piece of legislation they know isn’t going anywhere and would be successfully challenged if it did, and the D.C. residents (and Democrats across the land) get to cheer for the ‘good guys’ in their party who are ‘doing the right thing.’
Though clearly, they are not.
The biggest difference between POTUS Donald Trump and Democrats is that he’s actually trying to get good things done for the country — like border security, an increase in our GDP, ensuring Americans have good-paying jobs and that foreign countries are not ripping us off with bad trade arrangements.
Democrats, by comparison, are more interested in virtue-signaling to their base — like they have with DACA, which they have repeatedly refused to resolve though POTUS Trump has offered to on several occasions.
Sorry, boys and girls of D.C. and the Democrat Party: The constitutionally-required federal city isn’t going to become a state anytime soon, if ever.
If you want to vote for someone for Congress, you need to move to a real state.
Shame on Hoyer for not being honest enough to tell you that.
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- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10