Washington, D.C. Won't Become a State, But Not for the Reasons NBC Claims

AP Photo/Mark Tenally

When the fact-checkers need a reality check…

Washington, D.C., is the only city in America where I’ve ever made a wrong turn, gotten lost, and found myself staring at an abandoned police car sitting under an overpass. It was caked in dust and didn’t look like it had been driven in months, maybe years. This was several years ago now, before all our phones had GPS tracking capabilities. It was quite the shock for this kid who grew up in a law-enforcement family. What local failures must cascade to arrive at the place where a notoriously crime-ridden city has abandoned police cruisers on its streets?


While Washington fails to capably carry out the governing duties it does have, such as public safety, the nation’s capital has long sought yet more power in the form of statehood. That’s politics, where failing up is always an option.

NBC reports that Democrats have a bill in Congress that would supposedly make D.C. a state if it passes. But it actually wouldn’t.

Interestingly, not one time does the NBC report use the most relevant word in the statehood conversation: Constitution.

Instead, NBC predictably politicizes the story.

While the bill could pass again in the House, which remains in Democratic control, its chances of clearing the Senate are nil. Democrats control the Senate because, with a 50-50 split, Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tie-breaking votes. But Democrats would need to overcome a filibuster, requiring 60 votes, for the legislation to pass, meaning they would need at least 10 Republicans to join them. Many GOP lawmakers have expressed opposition to statehood for D.C. because its congressional representation would almost certainly be Democratic.

It would, and that’s reason enough for one party to oppose what would be a naked power grab by the other party. The Democrats would oppose splitting up Texas or Alaska into more than one state on similar grounds but from the opposite point of view. Make a state out of the Texas panhandle, for instance, and you’d have two Republican senators elected from there until the sun burns out. Smartly drawn borders would still keep the state’s other two Senate seats in GOP hands. Democrats would be fools to go along with that.


There are other reasons to oppose D.C. statehood, including its performance as a city. D.C. has elected a known crackhead for mayor. Its current mayor is clueless and politicizes every single thing she involves herself in. Sections of the city still had not recovered from the 1960s riots by the early 2000s.

But the main reason D.C. will not become a state is that, as TIME reported in 2016, it would require a constitutional amendment. Supposing TIME doesn’t go back and memory hole that article like Newsweek was caught doing, here’s what it says.

…the lack of statehood for the capital is enshrined in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the document reads, “The Congress shall have Power To …exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

Yep. It’s right here.

D.C.’s status is clearly defined as not a state in the United States Constitution, and the authors of that document spelled out exactly why they opposed statehood in the Federalist Papers.

Amending the Constitution is a serious and necessarily difficult process, one that requires true unity of purpose or major catastrophe such as civil war to be successful. NBC can presumably DuckDuckGo all this, but chose not to.


Mayor Bowser and Joe Biden are walking catastrophes, but they’re not yet able to unilaterally amend the Constitution. Biden can’t use an executive order to do it. Bare majorities in Congress can’t do it. Doing so requires supermajorities in Congress and state ratification, neither of which is possible at the moment. Currently, 38 of the 50 states would have to ratify an amendment in their legislatures. That’s simply not happening when it comes to D.C. statehood. It just isn’t. For one thing, why would any state support diluting its power in the Senate? Party affiliation alone is less compelling than radical Democrats and their media byline operatives realize. Democrats simply don’t control enough states to turn D.C. into another one.

The statehood bill is yet another example of performance art masquerading as governance. It’s a cynical sop to a party base to whip them up and give them a bloody shirt to wave around for the next election. It has no chance of actually making D.C. a state and everyone — including the bill’s authors and sponsors — knows it.

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