Congress Is Unlikely To Enfranchise Washington, DC No Matter How White It Gets

Ta-Nehisi Coates wonders how much of the District of Columbia’s disenfranchisement is about race: “Put bluntly, as the city grows whiter, and wealthier, will the issue of representation become more urgent to Congress?”

My gut tells me that the racial aspect of DC disenfranchisement is generally overstated. The objection to giving DC’s 601,000+ residents the kind of congressional representation enjoyed by Wyoming’s 563,000+ residents is basically the same as the objection to splitting California’s 37,253,000+ residents into separate states of North California and South California—partisan politics. It’s true that DC’s black majority is one of the reasons that it’s so overwhelmingly Democratic, but white Washington is lopsidedly partisan too. And over the years, admission of new states has always had a hefty partisan element to it. What it would take to get DC admitted as a state would probably be some other reasonable candidate for statehood that would be Republican-leaning.