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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Donald Trump has found himself in the midst of a political firestorm this week for revealing that he would consider taking political dirt against his opponents from a foreign source.
Less publicized perhaps, however, is the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally–after decades of lies of obfuscation and downright falsehoods–told the truth why Republicans are happy to deny basic American rights to the 630,000-plus residents of the District of Columbia.
DC residents are the only Americans who are required to pay federal taxes but–because DC is not a state–have no voting representation in Congress.
They have elected Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, but while she can make all the speeches that she wants, she has no vote.
It seems to me that we fought our first war a couple centuries back against that very tyranny. We called it “taxation without representation.”
DC residents, city officials and their allies have been laboring to rectify the situation for well more than 30 now. They’ve tried to have DC statehood recognized for nearly that long.
Opponents, largely Republicans, have stymied these efforts at every turn. And–up to now–they’ve done so with technical, lawyerly and supposedly high-minded arguments.
The worst was that offered a number of years ago by then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex) when she said, essentially, “DC doesn’t need its own senators, you have all 100 of us here to look out for you.”
I’ve never heard anything so condescending, patriarchal–and disingenuous.
If there ever was a conflict with the priorities of District residents and the folks back home, who did you think Hutchison sided with? Yeah, of course, better believe it was the Texans who could actually vote for her.
DC became so vexed that city officials chose to add “Taxation Without Representation” to DC-issued license plates.
But now on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News, McConnell finally got honest with what we all knew is real reason Republicans are pleased to impose taxation without representation on their fellow Americans. It’s simply that DC residents vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.
“They plan to make the District of Columbia a state. That would give them two new Democratic senators,” he said.
McConnell is just as wrong to hold his view as Trump is to hold his on getting political dirt from foreign powers.
The only correct, patriotic and intellectually honest answer is to provide DC with the full representation that all taxpaying Americans enjoy and have come to expect. If Republicans don’t want Democrats to hold those congressional and Senate seats, then fight for DC’s voters.
And just as conservatives should be just as outraged by Trump’s comments as anyone, all Americans should be just as bothered and outraged as are citizens of DC.
This is an issue which should matter to all Americans, not only those who reside within the District of Columbia.