Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Last Call For The Sad, Sad State Of Statehood, Con't

Back in July I noted that a Gallup poll had the country overwhelmingly against DC statehood, even a majority of Democrats opposed it eleven months ago.

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.

Steny Hoyer and the Democrats figure striking while the iron is hot is a good idea, and the bill might even pass the House this time.

It will never get any further.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) has chosen June 26 to hold the first floor vote in a generation on D.C. statehood, hoping to harness a national reckoning on race and capitalize on widespread outrage over the federal response to street protests in the nation’s capital.

Officials expect legislation making the District the 51st state to pass the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority of Democrats, which would be a watershed moment for pro-statehood activists and the first time in U.S. history that either chamber of Congress has advanced a statehood bill.

Forty of 100 senators have announced they support D.C. statehood. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) strongly opposes the legislation, and has said it would not get a vote in the Senate as long as he’s in charge.

“Statehood is the only way,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said at a news conference Tuesday morning, where she was joined by Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District’s nonvoting representative in the House.

Making the District a state would not only give the 700,000 citizens of the nation’s capital a vote in Congress, Bowser said, it would prevent National Guard troops from other states coming into the city without the city’s consent and could prevent the federalization of local law enforcement.

Pelosi called the political situation in the District “unjust, unequal, undemocratic and unacceptable.” Norton said statehood would “put an end to our oldest slogan: Taxation without representation.”

The officials insisted that the effort is not about partisanship but about citizenship. At the same time, however, Hoyer and others said “some” opposition to statehood over the years has stemmed from the perception of the District as “too Democratic, too black and too liberal” — an old shibboleth referring to the city’s voting patterns and its racial makeup.

There is no way Mitch McConnell is going to add two permanent Democratic Senate seats under any circumstances, and even if McConnell was somehow defeated and the Democrats had a Filibuster-proof 60 seats in January, Democrats can't even get more than 40 votes for it in the Senate right now.

DC statehood may happen in may lifetime, but not anytime soon.

Still, getting such a bill passed in the House would be a significant accomplishment, so there's that, but as with Donald Trump's impeachment, not a whole hell of a lot is going to result from it.

It's another ultimately futile Pelosi and Hoyer gesture that will be sadly forgotten in a matter of weeks.

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