Washington, DC was in the news again on Monday, though it was for an entirely different subject than recent headlines. Rather than yet another update on the January 6 riots, this time the conversation was about DC statehood.
On Monday morning, a congressional committee took up the issue. Some at the hearing noted that with a Democratic majority in both houses, this was as close as the territory has ever gotten to becoming a state. It appears some critics realized they were fighting an uphill battle. Some pointed out the negative arguments seemed a bit on the desperate side.
Reporter Daniel Dale was one of the first to point out the rather odd comments being made by opponents.
“Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, arguing against DC statehood at committee,” Dale wrote. “Said DC would become the only state without various things, like ‘without a CAR DEALERSHIP.’ Leaving aside the nonexistence of car dealerships in the 1700s, DC totally has car dealerships.”
Several of Dale’s followers were quick to make fun of the argument.
“You haven’t read the Car Dealership Clause of the US Constitution?” One follower tweeted. “It was vigorously debated during the constitutional convention and passed by the barest of margins.”
Size Doesn’t Matter For DC Statehood
Another set of arguments were made about how small Washington, DC is. That argument too, didn’t hold much weight for those in favor. Even former US Senator Claire McCaskill got in on the action.
If your reason for opposing DC statehood is that it is too small and has a lopsided partisan tilt, then somebody let Wyoming know its days are numbered.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) March 23, 2021
The mayor of the city also talked about DC being “too small.”
“They say DC is too small,” Muriel Bowser tweeted. “Or our economy is not diverse enough. Even though we’re bigger by population than two states and pay more per capita than any state; we pay more in total federal taxes than 22 states. No reason for this Congress not to right this wrong,” she continued.
Wyoming has a population of 578,000 and is only 1.3 percent Black, but it has two US senators.
The District of Columbia has a population of 705,000 and is 46 percent Black, but it has no US senators and no voting member in Congress.#DCStatehood is a racial justice issue. ✊🏾
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) March 22, 2021
One particular argument that drew quite a bit of ire was that made by The Heritage Foundation’s Zach Smith.
Smith argued against DC statehood by talking about representation. However, it wasn’t the representation argument most had heard before.
Indeed, Smith argued yard signs were enough.
Smith said DC residents “already impact the national debate” because members of Congress see their yard signs while driving to work. It seems unlikely this particular argument would fly in other conversations about government representation.
The Heritage Foundation’s Zack Smith, arguing against DC statehood, says DC residents “already impact the national debate” because members of Congress see their yard signs while driving to work. pic.twitter.com/g7fV3TopCX
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) March 22, 2021
However, at least one former Trump adviser said Smith’s argument didn’t go far enough.
“The Heritage foundation would be better off just saying what they mean: conservatives should oppose DC statehood because it puts us at a permanent disadvantage,” former Commerce Department staffer Kyle Hooten tweeted. “I don’t know why the establishment right can never just advocate for itself in a straightforward way.”
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