Paul Waldman makes an excellent point about the Democratic Party’s non-emphasis of statehood for D.C. (boldface mine):
But if there’s one thing preventing D.C. statehood from getting more support, it’s almost certainly that Democrats just haven’t made it a priority…
…when it comes to D.C. statehood, I promise you that if Democrats actually advocated for it loudly and often, you’d see public opinion shift in their direction as everyone in their party lined up.
And this issue shows just how different the two parties are. In addition to statehood being the right thing to do, it would also inevitably mean an extra Democratic seat in the House and two seats in the Senate. Yet, incredibly, Democrats are in no particular hurry to make that happen.
If the voters who live in the District were mostly Republicans and not Democrats, the GOP would be fighting like hell for statehood. You know they would. They take every opportunity available to exploit every structural advantage they can find and create new ones where they don’t exist, whether it’s through gerrymandering or voter suppression. You think they’d leave two Senate seats on the table? Please.
I’m sure there are Democrats who are afraid that there will be some kind of backlash against statehood. While one should never underestimate Republicans’ ability to demagogue about anything, it strains credulity that someone would have voted for Congressman X except for his support for extending representative democracy to the citizens of D.C. Whether it be laziness or stupidity, Democrats really need to start pushing statehood.