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Sprinkles from the Left

*Note: These polls were chosen because respondents were asked a simple yes or no question, meaning there’s little reason to think they were primed to respond in a certain way.

“In Federalist 47, James Madison quite ably defends the existence of a federal district and the notion that the essential elements of the federal government must operate outside the jurisdiction of any state. Madison warned that without this, the federal government could have its authority challenged, or even, “its proceedings interrupted with impunity.” However, there is nothing in Madison’s argument that would prevent a smaller district, like the one proposed.

…Some argue that a small D.C. might be too dependent on other states, and thus violate the intent of the Constitution. But in truth, D.C., like many states, is already dependent on goods and services that originate outside the area. Others have argued that rather than make a new state, most of D.C. should be absorbed back into Maryland. That is an option, but you could also make an argument that some of the other smaller states should be merged into bigger neighboring states as well.”

Kevin Wagner, Palm Beach Post

“Republicans are vehemently opposed. Why? Not for any procedural or good-faith constitutional reasons. D.C., which has more people than Vermont or Wyoming and is gaining on Alaska, pays more in federal taxes than 21 states and its young people have served in every U.S. war of the past two centuries. D.C. residents originally had the right to vote in congressional elections, but it was stripped away by the Organic Act of 1801, a hastily crafted bill passed by a lame-duck Federalist Congress. They have been fighting for voting representation in Congress ever since.

No, Republicans oppose granting full voting rights to D.C. residents primarily because they fear the new state will produce two new Democratic senators. They are right. And that is precisely why Democrats should make securing the House and Senate votes needed to achieve D.C. statehood a priority.

Some readers who believe such issues should be detached from party politics may wince at our openly partisan appeal. But admitting new states has always been partisan. In the 19th century, party and regional antagonisms drove the process of admitting new states. Think of the famous Missouri Compromise in 1820, when Maine was carved from Massachusetts as a free state to balance the admission of a slave state, Missouri. In the decades following the Civil War, Republicans rammed more than half a dozen new sparsely populated Western states through Congress to strengthen their hold on the federal government. Partisan, ideological and racial politics stalled the admission of Hawaii and Alaska until party leaders agreed to admit the two together in 1959.”

Dr. George Derek Musgrove & Dr. Chris Myers Asch, New York Times ($)

“If there was any doubt that the District of Columbia needs statehood, the events of Jan. 6 cleared it up. Mayor Muriel Bowser was unable to activate the D.C.National Guard without the president’s consent (a power delegated to the Secretary of the Army). The lines of authority to seek mutual aid for the District from neighboring states under the 50-state Emergency Management Assistance Compact are hopelessly tangled, an issue now under investigation through Senate hearings. No governor faces this obstacle. While outnumbered Capitol Police struggled to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department was stretched too thin to protect its own residents and proximate neighborhoods…

…D.C. residents lack rights that would be unimaginable if they lived in any state. It was not until 1963, with ratification of the 23rd Amendment, that D.C. residents were given the right to vote for president and vice president with three votes in the Electoral College. Four years later, it gained its own school board; and in 1970 was granted a House delegate who has no vote.
Home rule was granted to D.C. by Congress in 1973, but the language of that law allows Congress to preempt any action taken by the District’s government. To this day, Congress routinely intervenes in home rule. In 2016, members of Congress attempted to overturn overrule or change 25 local Washington, D.C. laws.”

Sheila R. Foster & Meryl Chertoff, The Hill

Sprinkles from the Right

*Note: These polls were chosen because respondents were asked a simple yes or no question, meaning there’s little reason to think they were primed to respond in a certain way.

“There is no doubt that Frederick Douglass thought the 19th-century status of Washington’s residents was unacceptable. Although he himself served as U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, he noted that its residents have “neither voice nor vote in all the practical politics of the United States. They are hardly to be called citizens of the United States.”

Since then, residents of Washington, D.C., have been granted the right to vote for president and a delegate in the House to represent their interests. But that clearly falls short of full voting rights…

…Washington’s House delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, the prime mover of statehood, isn’t being honest when she claims that Congress has only two choices: “It can continue to exercise undemocratic, autocratic authority” over the District, or it can pass her statehood bill. No alternative.

But there is an answer that neither continues the unacceptable status quo nor creates an artificial state largely for the expedient purpose of electing two new Democratic senators.

Congress can give back what it took from Maryland and Virginia when it created the District in 1801. It’s called retrocession, and the job is already half done. In 1847, the federal government ceded the portion of D.C. south of the Potomac River back to Virginia. It is now the cities of Alexandria and Arlington. Residents elect a member to the U.S. House, vote for two Senators, and escape the direct federal oversight of their affairs that Washington D.C. endures.”

John Fund, National Review

“In the wake of the federal government’s failure to defend the Capitol in January, momentum for [D.C. statehood] has built on the presumption that it would improve security. But would it? History suggests not. During the Civil War, Americans learned the hard way that making the federal district smaller can expose buildings of national importance to greater danger from rebellious forces.

In the spring of 1861, Union officers in Washington looked with fear at the Arlington Heights rising from the Virginia banks across the Potomac. With Virginia seceding from the Union, Confederate forces could fortify the position and inflict serious damage on the capital. “The president’s house and department buildings in its vicinity are but two and a half miles across the river from Arlington high ground, where a battery of bombs and heavy guns, if established, could destroy the city,” warned the officer in command of Washington’s defenses…

… Even in light of the response to the Capitol riot, it is difficult to see how shrinking the federal district’s borders to the shadows of its most important buildings would help federal officials set up a proper security perimeter the next time a mob descends.

It is far easier to see how the proposed change could result in a situation similar to the one that unfolded last year in Portland, Ore., where local officials seemed more sympathetic to a mob laying siege to a federal courthouse for nights on end than to the beleaguered federal officers defending it. America’s founders had such nightmares in mind when they set aside 10 miles square for a federal district outside the control of any state.”

Jonathan Horn, Wall Street Journal

“Republicans and conservatives reject total Democrat control, which is what D.C. statehood would help secure.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mass., on March 23 offered the Left’s best argument for this idea: ’Put simply, you oppose DC statehood, you support taxation without representation.’

Taxation without representation triggered the American Revolution. Indeed, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D–Washington, D.C., may not vote on the U.S. House floor. The District has zero senators.

This complaint — pressed deeply into D.C.’s steel license plates — is perfectly valid. And this grand compromise solves it:

D.C. should enjoy non-representation without taxation.

Washington, D.C. should remain a political neutral zone. However, its residents should be excused from federal individual income tax. In 2018, the Tax Foundation reports, this arrangement would have let 541,450 taxpayers keep $6.726 billion in their bank accounts. Henceforth, such funds would finance residents’ personal advancement and stimulate the local economy. Tax-bludgeoned Americans would flock to D.C. to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

Deroy Murdock, Fox News