GOP's latest argument against DC statehood: Are there even enough people there?


Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said the District of Columbia doesn't have a large enough population even for a full House district.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) on Tuesday argued that Washington, D.C., should not be a state because it doesn't have enough people — the latest GOP argument against giving voting rights to the more than 700,000 people who live in the district.

"D.C. wouldn't even qualify as a singular congressional district, and here they are, they want the power and authority of being an entire state in the United States," Mace said at a news conference.

Mace appears to be disregarding the fact that two states — Vermont and Wyoming — have smaller populations than Washington's.

According to the Census Bureau, the nation's capital has a population of 705,749 people. Vermont has 623,989 people, while Wyoming, whose sole member of the House of Representatives, Liz Cheney, stood alongside Mace as she made her comments, has an even smaller population of 578,759.

Republicans' arguments against granting statehood to the District of Columbia, whose 700,000 residents have no voting representation in Congress, continue to be shot down by critics.

In March, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) said Washington shouldn't be a state because it would be the only one without car dealerships, airports, or landfills.

"Under this bill, D.C. would in fact become the first among states — which is exactly our founders sought to avoid," Hice said on March 22 during a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on H.R. 51, a bill that would create the 51st state. "D.C. would be the only state, the only state, without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city, without a landfill, without even a name on its own, and we can go on and on and on."

Washington does have car dealerships, although the Constitution contains no stipulations that states must contain them or any of the other facilities Hice mentioned.

At that same hearing, other Republicans argued that Washington isn't big enough geographically to be a state, and that it doesn't have the right kind of industries — such as mining or agriculture — to qualify for statehood.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) likely pinpointed the real reason for Republican opposition to Washington statehood when he told the hearing, "This is about race and partisanship and affiliation." Referring to Republican Virginia Foxx's questioning of Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, Connolly said, "She asked a series of questions of the mayor of the District of Columbia that I think are profoundly inappropriate, to characterize how people might vote were they granted the right of statehood to have two senators, and what kinds of particular philosophical attitudes those two senators might have."

Washington, D.C., is overwhelmingly Democratic. President Joe Biden carried the city with 93% of the vote in the 2020 election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.