Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Sad, Sad State Of Statehood

The vast majority of Americans remain against DC statehood in a new Gallup poll with 64% against and only 29% for, even the majority of Democrats are against it, as are self-described liberals, voting rights and representation for the District's mostly black residents be damned.

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.

A 1978 proposed constitutional amendment to grant Washington, D.C., voting representation in Congress failed, and in 1993 the U.S. House of Representatives voted against legislation to make the nation's capital a state. In 2016, D.C. residents approved an advisory referendum supporting statehood. Earlier this year, the House included a nonbinding endorsement of statehood for D.C. among various good-governance proposals. A separate bill proposed by Washington Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton to grant the district statehood will be taken up by a House committee later this year. Even if successful in the House, the bill has little chance of being considered by the Republican-led Senate.

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.

DC statehood has never been popular for a number of reasons, but there's no conceivable way Republicans would ever allow it anyway. Besides, the DC statehood hearing in the House this week was postponed to clear the decks for the Mueller testimony on Wednesday.

I figure it'll probably be postponed indefinitely.  It's a political loser in an era where all the House Democratic leadership can produce is political losers that don't get Senate votes.

Not even Democrats want to fight for it.

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