Sinema, Kelly, uncommitted on D.C. statehood
By: Nathan Brown Arizona Capitol Times June 18, 2021
Thirty-three Democratic state senators and House members are calling on the state’s congressional delegation to support Washington, D.C., statehood, in advance of a June 22 U.S. Senate hearing on the topic.
Washington D.C. statehood is a politically divisive issue – Democrats see giving the federal district’s almost 700,000 residents, a majority of whom are non-white, full representation in their national government as a civil rights question, while Republicans see it as an unconstitutional power grab that will all but guarantee the addition of two more Democrats to the Senate.
The D.C. statehood bill that passed the U.S. House in April split the state’s congressional delegation on the expected partisan lines, with all the Democrats voting for it and all the Republicans voting against it. And when a resolution opposing D.C. statehood came up in the Arizona House earlier this year, it passed 31-29 along the expected party lines.
However, what remains in question is how Arizona’s two Democratic U.S. senators, both of whom have sought to cultivate reputations as moderates who sometimes buck their party, would vote on a D.C. statehood bill. When asked this week, both indicated they haven’t decided whether to vote “yes” or “no.”
In a letter to the state’s federal delegation this week, the Arizona state lawmakers wrote: “No other democratic nation denies the right of self-government, including participation in its national legislature, to the residents of its capital. The residents of the District of Columbia lack full democracy, equality, and citizenship enjoyed by the residents of Arizona and all other states.”
A compromise for D.C. representation in Congress
By TOM CAMPBELL | Orange County RegisterPUBLISHED: May 11, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. | UPDATED: May 11, 2021 at 12:39 p.m.
Since Democrats outnumber Republicans 12 to 1 in the District of Columbia, statehood would likely add two Democratic senators and one voting Democratic House member to Congress. It is hard, in today’s hyper-politicized environment, to separate the issue of D.C. statehood from that reality. However, if we suspend partisan thinking, we can perceive different facets of fairness in this question.
States’ representation in the United States Senate is grossly disproportionate. Two U.S. senators represent 39.5 million Californians. Two U.S senators would represent 693,000 residents of the District of Columbia. The chances of an individual citizen actually knowing or getting a communication heard by her or his senator would be 57 times better in D.C. than in California.
California has 12% of our nation’s population but 2% of the U.S. Senate. If D.C. becomes a state, California would drop to 1.9% of the U.S. Senate. With only 0.18% of the nation’s population, D.C. would have more than 10 times its fair share in the Senate, if measured by population. California would drop below its already paltry level of one-sixth its fair share.
Starting in 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down such underrepresentation in state legislatures. States argued that by tradition, the upper house of their legislatures were based on area, or communities of interest, or historical patterns, all of which should be respected in allocating state senate seats.https://07630d4a92ca87bc421beaa0c9ef4f46.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
The Supreme Court rejected all those arguments, establishing that the Constitution required “one person, one vote.” That has been the guiding principle of reapportionment in state legislatures for 60 years. Were the court free to apply this principle to the U.S. Senate, California would have 12 senators today. While the court can override the traditional state defenses for disproportionate state legislative districts, it cannot override the explicit provision of two senators per state in Congress.
Indeed, America itself cannot override that: Article V specifies how the Constitution can be amended, and it forbids changing the allocation of two senators per state. Untouchable, but unfair, the allotment of senators continues to give huge advantage to small states over larger ones. No state is more unfairly treated than California.
Californians might argue that, at least, we shouldn’t make this disproportionality any worse. On issues of importance to California, California speaks with the greatest weight of any state in the House of Representatives; but in the U.S. Senate, our voice is weak, no matter how eloquent our individual senators might be.
Fairness to the District of Columbia, however, is also entitled to respect. D.C. residents have no vote in Congress today. D.C. license plates carry the motto: “End Taxation Without Representation,” invoking one of America’s revolutionary demands. Statehood is one solution. Another would be to mimic history.
Most Arizonans Oppose DC Statehood – McLaughlin poll sponsored by USJF
USJF hired the national polling firm of John McLaughlin and Associates to test voter attitudes on the issue of District of Columbia statehood in Arizona for the US Justice Foundation.
Use the link to view its results
July 2019: National Gallup Poll Americans Reject DC Statehood 64% oppose
• 64% oppose, 29% favor making Washington, D.C., a separate state
• Americans have typically been opposed
• Democrats, liberals more likely to favor, but still below a majority
Americans are much more likely to oppose (64%) than to favor (29%) making Washington, D.C., a separate state. These results are consistent with past polling on the topic by other firms, which also found majorities opposed to the idea.
The latest results are based on a June 19-30, 2019, Gallup poll, conducted in advance of congressional hearings on a bill to make Washington, D.C., a state. Although the Constitution does afford Washington, D.C., electoral votes in presidential elections, the district does not have a voting member in the House or Senate. Moreover, Congress has the ability to review and to block any policies passed by the Washington, D.C., mayor and city council. No major subgroups of Americans voice support for D.C. statehood. However, support is higher among left-leaning political groups than right-leaning ones. Self-described liberals (40%) and Democrats (39%) are among the groups showing higher support. Republicans (15%) and conservatives (14%) are among the subgroups least supportive. Thirty percent of independents approve of making D.C. a separate state.
Given Washington’s strong Democratic leanings, making it the 51st state would almost certainly add one voting Democrat to the House and two to the Senate, and that likelihood may underpin Republicans’ reluctance to make it a state.
There were modest party differences in 1992, when 24% of Democrats and 16% of Republicans favored making Washington a state, according to the Yankelovich survey.
Standard survey samples of 1,000 U.S. adults do not include enough interviews with D.C. residents to reliably measure their opinions on D.C. statehood. However, on a regional basis, support is highest in the East, which includes D.C. and the neighboring state of Maryland. Thirty-eight percent of Eastern residents endorse making D.C. a state, compared with no more than 28% in the other major U.S regions. In addition to the East including D.C. and Maryland, those in the Eastern U.S. may be more familiar with the arguments for and against making D.C. a state than those living farther away from it.
35% FAVOR STATEHOOD FOR WASHINGTON, DC
Thirty-five percent (35%) of voters nationwide favor making Washington, D.C. a separate state. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 41% are opposed and 24% are not sure
Those totals include 17% who Strongly Favor the idea and 28% who are Strongly Opposed.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of Democrats favor the idea while 61% of Republicans are opposed.
The survey also found that just 19% are following news on the topic Very Closely.
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Note: Neither Scott Rasmussen, ScottRasmussen.com, nor RMG Research, Inc. have any affiliation with Rasmussen Reports. While Scott Rasmussen founded that firm, he left more than seven years ago and has had no involvement since that time.