Speed Reads

d.c. statehood?

Why the Democratic Party is shifting toward supporting D.C. statehood

"We've never seen the groundswell of public support" for Washington, D.C., statehood "that we're seeing now," historian Chris Myers Asch, the co-author of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital, told The Washington Post. That momentum is mainly a product of grassroots activists who are focused on getting the city's federal taxpaying residents representation in Congress, as detailed in a lengthy feature published by the Post on Wednesday. But the future of the movement rests in the Senate chamber, and Democratic lawmakers, often wary of addressing the issue in the past, seem to be warming to the idea for the sake of their party.

"Democrats are shifting toward uniform support for statehood because they realize it's one of the only ways they can gain power that's equivalent to their numbers in the greater population," historian George Derek Musgrove, Asch's co-author, told the Post. "I don't think there's any question that people within the Democratic leadership understand the stakes, and the benefits that statehood would bring to the party."

The last time the discussion about D.C. statehood was really amplified was in the early 1990s, and Democrats had held the Senate for more than 30 of the last 40 years, so they weren't too concerned about power dynamics. But while they have a slim majority in both Congressional chambers now, their grip is very loose, leaving them to face a new reality. Read more at The Washington Post.