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Republican senator attacks D.C. statehood by implying its residents aren’t “real people”

Republican senator attacks D.C. statehood by implying its residents aren’t “real people”

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Some small solace, and it’s quite small indeed given how disastrous his tenure has been for the world, can be found in the fact that the election of Donald Trump in 2016 did not represent the genuine will of the American people. Hillary Clinton won almost 3 million more votes than Trump, a higher number even than the population of some countries.

But due to an Electoral College system that was designed hundreds of years ago during a time when states functioned very differently and had drastically smaller populations, the presidency was handed to the less popular candidate.

Republicans realize that our outdated system disproportionately advantages them and so they adamantly insist that nothing needs to change with the way we handle elections in this country. They would rather disenfranchise Americans en masse than contend with the reality that their reactionary platform is growing less and less appealing to the majority of Americans.

A reasonable workaround for this crisis of democracy is to grant statehood to parts of the country that have long been denied a proper voice in their government. There is no legitimate argument against making Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and Guam into states should their inhabitants wish it. They are American citizens who by right deserve a say in choosing the president.

Add your name to tell states and police to reject Trump’s calls to use violence against peaceful protestors!

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Republicans, of course, oppose these new states because the addition of new senators to the U.S. Congress would likely tilt the balance of power towards Democrats, complicating the already tenuous path to power the GOP must navigate every election cycle. As is almost always the case with Republicans, power is more important to them than democracy.

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Recently, the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve D.C. statehood. The Republican-controlled Senate will not endorse the move, but should Democrats take the Senate and Oval Office in November it now seems likely the citizens of our nation’s capital will finally receive what they deserve. Republicans are predictably up in arms.

The Washington Post’s Fenit Nirappil reports that at an “anti-D.C. statehood press conference” Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) told those present that if they want to get a sense for how Americans really feel about the proposal they should “go out to where the real people are at across the country and ask them where they think.”

The implication clearly is that Americans who live in D.C. are somehow not “real” Americans because they don’t vote overwhelmingly for Republicans. A more sinister implication lurks below because—as Nirappil points out—46% of D.C. residents are Black. In other words, Daines seems to be implying that Black Americans are not “real people.”

While Daines tried to clean up his remarks by saying he simply meant there is a “different view” outside D.C., the implication remains. This vile sort of dog-whistling is what we are dealing with the GOP and it’s exactly why their protestations against D.C. statehood can not be interpreted as offered in good faith. They must be voted out of office.

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