Pending before Congress is a bill to grant most of Washington, D.C. statehood. I say most of it because the bill still exempts a significant portion of the district from its provisions on the grounds that you simply cannot have a state with authority over the federal government – precisely the reason that the District of Columbia was created at the inception of the United States Constitution. The rationale for doing this as pronounced by the congressional elites is that the population of the district is able to vote for the president and vice-president but does not have a representative or two senators in the United States Congress. For those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools, each state is allocated members of the House of Representatives based on population (with a minimum of one member) and two senators without regard to population. And that just isn’t “fair” according to the Democrats.
It is also baloney. Seventy-six percent of the registered voters in the District are Democrats and only six percent are Republicans. The overwhelming percentage of the working population of the District are federal and municipal employees with a high percentage of those being members of the Democrat Party’s financial arm – the public employee unions. The effect of this staggering registration advantage would insure that the District would perpetually send Democrats (two senators and one representative) to Congress in perpetuity. And that, and only that, is the real rationale for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s insistence on moving this bill through Congress.
If granting statehood to the residents of the District of Columbia was a democratic imperative they could have done it anytime after World War II when Democrats held the White House and the majority in Congress – but they didn’t. They didn’t do it during President John Kennedy’s term. They didn’t do it during President Lyndon Johnson’s terms. They didn’t do it during President Jimmy Carter’s term. They didn’t do it during President Bill Clinton’s terms and most recently they didn’t do it during President Barack Obama’s terms. In fact, they didn’t do it until they lost the dominant majority on the United States Supreme Court – a factor that they had counted on for half of a century to adopt social change when they could not achieve it legislatively. Since they have lost the majority in the Supreme Court they have moved aggressively to reassert control in the Congress – two more Democrat senators will almost assure them of a dependable voting majority.
Of course, the Republicans are screaming foul and are dead set against it. But, as usual, the Republicans don’t have an alternative, a rationale for opposition, or even decent talking points. And that leaves the Democrats claiming the “moral high ground” even though it isn’t but it appears to be so given the lack of an alternative by the Republicans. It even allows them to accuse the Republicans, once again, of racism because the District is about forty-eight percent African American. That all to frequent canard is also baloney but that never keeps the Democrats from screaming “racist” about everything.
But there is a solution and, quite frankly, a very good solution. And it all hinges on Eastern Oregon.
You see Oregon is basically a conservative state overwhelmed by a far-left city – Portland. In gubernatorial races, with startling regularity, the Republican candidate is leading by a comfortable margin until the votes from the Portland metro area are counted and the Democrat candidate wins with a similar comfortable margin. To add insult to injury the Democrat controlled legislature then gerrymanders the legislative districts to insure that the Portland metro area dominates the legislative races and gives Democrats near super majorities in both house of the state legislature. Thereafter, the seventy-five percent of the counties that did not vote for the Democrat governor or are not part of the Portland metro area are studiously ignored by state government.
In essence the residents of Central and Eastern Oregon – like the District of Columbia – have virtually no representation in the United States Congress. Yes, I know that they have a representative in Congress from Oregon’s Second Congressional District – a land mass that is half again the size of the remainder of Oregon and stretches from the crest of the Cascades, south to the California border, east to the Idaho border and north to the Columbia River – but that is only because the Democrats cannot figure out how to gerrymander the congressional districts to make them all Democrat. And while the District of Columbia has no voting representatives in Congress, it does have a vote in the Electoral College which is denied to the people of Central and Eastern Oregon. The similarity of the plight of the residents of the District of Columbia and those of Central and Eastern Oregon are relatively simple and the remedy for each is identical.
Since last winter we have been reading of a movement founded in the Eastern Oregon counties abutting Idaho’s western boundary. The movement is simply styled as Greater Idaho and would move the state boundaries of Idaho to encompass what is now the Oregon’s Second Congressional District. It requires congressional approval and approval from the state legislatures in Oregon and Idaho.
A similar solution for the District of Columbia is to change the boundaries of Maryland to encompass all of the district with the exception of the small tract of land housing the three branches of government already identified in the pending congressional resolution. (The merger with Maryland instead of Virginia is appropriate because the Potomac River serves as a natural border with Virginia while the border with Maryland is solid land described in metes and bounds.) It would require congressional approval and approval of the Maryland legislature and the governing body of the District.
The net effect in both instances would be this: Greater Idaho would gain a congressional seat but no senate seats. It would also likely gain an Electoral College vote. And Maryland would likely gain an additional congressional seat but no senate seats and an additional Electoral College vote. The overwhelmingly Democrat majority in the District would join the overwhelming Democrat majority in Maryland. And the overwhelming Republican majority in Oregon’s Second Congressional District would join the overwhelming Republican majority in Idaho.
In addition to the symbiotic political solution, there is a political imperative here. The Democrats will lose their “equity” argument about the residents of the District being denied representation in Congress. The Republicans will gain by supporting a bipartisan solutions – because that is what it would take to adopt this. The citizens of the newly redrawn states would find comity with their new majorities. And most importantly no violence would be done to the United States Constitution.
So for both highly partisan political parties – think about it. Like Alka Seltzer just “try it, you like it.”