The argument for District of Columbia statehood goes like this: D.C. has a population of about 700,000 people. The entire state of Wyoming has about 600,000. The comparison is intended to illustrate the supposed injustice that D.C. residents have no vote in Congress. Of course, we know which party will benefit.
This is nothing more than the typically stupid and ill conceived Democrat power grab.
The Constitution provides a process by which new states may be added (Article IV, Sec. 3) and the Federalist Papers, in an entry written by the Constitution’s chief author, explains why it doesn’t apply to D.C.
The reason D.C. should never be a state is so that the federal government would not be under the undue control or influence of a “host” state. The Founders moved from Philadelphia mainly because they wanted the federal government to bear no unfair allegiance to the state that housed them. They did not want a state to be able to make decisions affecting their workplace or other aspects of their lives that could hold influence over them.
They wanted their everyday needs of utilities, roads, traffic, and safety to be independent of any state for two reasons: first, so that a state couldn’t blackmail the federal government into something by interfering with those essential resources, and second, so that the federal government wouldn’t feel as though it owed the host state anything for providing those resources. So, in order to preserve its impartiality and independence from the states, and ensure that it was immune to underhand tactics, the federal government made its home in a district that would be under its own exclusive authority.
The federal government would be on its own property, take care of itself, and maintain its independence from state governments. The exclusive control that the federal government was given over D.C. helped ensure that only it could control its home and that it would be subject to no state action.
In a nutshell, one sovereign cannot live in the home of another.
There is also the issue of of citizenship. The District of Columbia was never meant to be a place where people lived out their lives. It was a place for representatives from various states to reside and congregate for temporary blocks of time, after which they would retire and move back home (many members of Congress even today don’t live in D.C. and commute from their home states). The District was meant to be the home of the federal government, and it was assumed, given the District’s bad terrain and small size, that the only people there would have some connection to the federal government.
But beyond all this, the call for D.C. statehood would run into another severe challenge: the District of Columbia was originally founded on land ceded to the federal government by Virginia and Maryland (Virginia was given back its share in 1846). The implication is simple: Maryland gave the federal government its land to create a neutral federal district; if it were to cease to be one, that land would belong to Maryland. The District’s land belongs to one of two entities: the federal government or the state of Maryland. Even attempting to fashion a third option would lead to a constitutional challenge under Article IV, a particular reading of which forbids the creation of a new state from the land of another.
The federal district that was never supposed to resemble a state in any way — not in government, not in jurisdiction, and certainly not in electoral behavior. For D.C. residents who have lived in D.C. for generations with no meaningful state ties, and strongly wish to vote in state or federal elections are free to move where they please, including to the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia.
They cannot, however, demand that a well-established system be redesigned in opposition to its fundamental purpose simply to accommodate their convenience.