Washington DC – the capital city where in democratic terms its residents are second class citizens

June 20th, 2020

Just imagine what would happen if those people who resided in the City of Westminster were not allowed to have an MP. It would be decidedly odd and very hard to justify on democratic terms and no doubt the residents there would rightly feel angry. Well that is the situation that exists for the 0.75m people whose home is in Washington DC.

Clearly it is understandable that those who live in the US capitol feel aggrieved by this and why for the past twenty years their vehicle licence plates feature the political slogan “End Taxation without Representation”. For they are not represented at all in the House of Representatives of or the Senate yet they pay their federal taxes.

It used to be that they were not allowed to participate in Presidential elections but since the 1960s DC has the same number of electoral college votes as the smallest state in the union.

This is an issue now because because one of those residents, the former US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, is high on the list of those being considered by Joe Biden to be his VP pick. She’s currently third favourite in the betting and is making a great play of the issue as seen earlier in the month in the New York Times. This is issue is giving her some prominence at the moment during the VP consideration.

A reason which this anomaly has been allowed to continue is that if DC became a state it would be able to elect two senators and the city is very much a Democratic stronghold. That would alter the balance something that isn’t going to find favour with the Republicans or Mr. Trump.

Mike Smithson