Friday, June 14, 2024

An update on D.C. Statehood for Flag Day 2024

Happy Flag Day! As I've done for the past five years, I'm observing the holiday by examining the state of D.C. statehood. I begin with Mastering Knowledge asking Why Should Washington D.C. Be a State?

Join us in this thought-provoking video as we delve into the crucial question of whether Washington, D.C. should become a state. Advocates for statehood put forth compelling arguments, and we explore the reasons behind their call for change.

Discover how the residents of Washington, D.C. lack voting representation in the U.S. Congress, despite paying federal taxes and serving in the military. Explore the concept of "taxation without representation" and its historical significance, as we delve into the core democratic principles that underpin this issue.

Explore the population size of Washington, D.C., which surpasses certain existing states, and the implications of granting statehood based on its population. Dive into the potential benefits that statehood could bring, such as full congressional representation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, ensuring that the citizens of Washington, D.C. have a voice and equal participation in the democratic process.

Uncover the current challenges faced by Washington, D.C., including limited autonomy and dependence on congressional approval for local decisions. Learn how statehood would empower Washington, D.C. with greater self-governance, allowing its residents to shape their own destiny without undue interference from the federal government.

Furthermore, we explore the constitutional aspects surrounding statehood, analyzing the language of the Constitution and the potential interpretations that support the notion of Washington, D.C. becoming a state.
That's a good summary of the subject. For a update, I'm sharing DC Statehood show WUSA9 anchored by Adam Longo.

I've become familiar with Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s Delegate to the House of Representatives, since I've been covering this issue, but this is the first I've heard of D.C.'s shadow Senator Paul Strauss. I count that as learning something new, and it's always a good day when I learn something new.

I learned something else new that isn't good, which still doesn't negate today being a good day, that a Congressman introduced a bill to repeal DC Home Rule Act, as DC News Now reported last August.

On Friday, Rep. Andy Ogles, (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill to repeal the D.C. Home Rule Act. Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) are co-sponsoring the bill.
That's going backwards, not forwards. Worse yet, when WUSA9 asked Can Congress repeal D.C.'s Home Rule Act? The answer was yes.

The Home Rule Act was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon and went into effect in 1975.
Sigh. Fortunately, repealing home rule would be just as difficult under the current Senate and President as D.C. statehood would be given the current Congress. That might not be the case if Republicans retake the Senate and Hoover Cleveland returns to the White House. That's all the more reason to prevent both from happening.

I plan on revisiting the related issue of statehood for Puerto Rico on National PiƱa Colada Day next month. Stay tuned.


  1. I wasn't aware that DC residents are subject to all the same federal taxes as residents of states. That isn't right. No taxation without representation was one of the basic causes the war of independence was fought over.

    If DC and Puerto Rico ever do become states, I expect Republicans will demand statehood for various rural areas of blue states. Unfortunately for them, the legalities of carving a new state out of the territory of an existing one are very different from converting a territory into a state.

    Re-designing the flag would be a huge pain in the ass. I hope there's some way we can simply avoid doing it. I don't think there's any actual law that the number of stars must reflect the number of states. It's just a tradition.

    1. Exactly, which is why "Taxation Without Representation" is on DC license plates. At least many but not all Puerto Rico residents are immune from income tax (the exceptions are those getting their income from the federal government). Wikipedia missed an exemption to capital gains taxes for new residents. They still have to pay payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, so they have less taxation for even less representation; D.C. can still vote for President, while Puerto Rico cannot.

      That's already happening. The number one target for dividing up blue states is California, where there were two proposals to split the state into six and three states during the last decade. The first failed to get enough signatures, while the California Supreme Court threw the second off the ballot. You've written about a related strategy of tranferring taking red areas of blue states and adding them to neighboring red states when you blogged about Greater Idaho. Annie linked to a Brookings Institute commentary listing other attempts, like western Maryland trying to join West Virginia, northern Colorado joining Wyoming, and southern Illinois counties wishing to join one of the neighboring conservative states. Those could minimally affect the House of Representatives and more significantly the Electoral College, but not the Senate, which would require the admission of new states.

      There is a law stating that the number of stars reflects the number of states, the Flag Act of 1818. Personally, I think replacing existing flags is the least of the objections, although the one that has the most immediate effect on individuals. The U.S. has done it many times before, so I'm not worried we can do it again.

    2. Interesting points, thanks. I certainly was not aware of the Flag Act of 1818.

      We are lucky that changing the borders of states, or breaking them up into smaller states, has been made so difficult. In general the Senate is less full of flaming nutballs than the House because state borders, unlike Congressional districts, can't be gerrymandered. All this proposed fiddling with state borders based on the political preferences of a given historical moment would just create a new form of gerrymandering.

    3. Glad I helped you learn something new. As for moving the boundaries of states to put like-minded people together, it would generally have the same effect as gerrymandering, as it can still be gamed for partisan advantage, but the mechanism and some of the motivation would be different. Instead of politicians picking their voters, voters would be picking their politicians. That makes it marginally more democratic, if still bad for the civic health of the republic.

      I forgot Michigan as a target for splitting states. There has long been a movement here for the Upper Peninsula to become the State of Superior. I don't know how viable it would be, but if the residents of the U.P. want to form their own state, they can go ahead as far as I'm concerned. They'd even have a relatively complete university system, with Michigan Tech being the combined flagship and land grant college, Northern Michigan as the normal school, and Lake Superior State as the urban research university.

    4. Thanks you for linking to this entry at Link round-up for 16 June 2024 and welcome to all of you who came here from Infidel's link! Also, welcome to my international readers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the planet! I appreciate all of you, especially my readers from Hong Kong, who contributed about 3,340 page views this week, more than half as many as my American readers

  2. Thanks to driftglass for linking to this entry in Mike’s Blog Round-Up at Crooks & Liars then tweeting out his link. Welcome to all of you who came here from his link! Also, welcome to my international readers from Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, China, and the rest of the planet! I appreciate all of you, especially my readers from Hong Kong, who contributed about 8,030 page views this week, four times as many as my American readers, and helped push this blog over its monthly page view goal!