- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2021

Rasmussen Reports recently asked 1,000 American adults a simple question: “Should Washington, D.C., be a state?”

The responses were definitive: Nope, 55%; yep, 29%; unsure, 16%.

The survey, conducted Feb. 22-23 via telephone and online, casts another pall on the D.C. statehood movement, which has been limping from election season to election season for congressional and nationwide support to push the capital over the 51st statehood line.

When Joe Biden took down Donald Trump, hopes were high, since Mr. Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are supporters.

Also, in June 2020, while D.C. voters were preoccupied battling COVID-19 and Mr. Trump, the House voted 232-180 to help keep D.C. in the running for statehood. Meanwhile, Paul Strauss was seeking his “shadow” senator seat — and therein lies a major part of the D.C. statehood.

In fact, D.C. has two “shadow” senators and one “shadow” representative. One of the original shadow senators was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose strident voice for progressive identity politics played a central role in the movement.

The other “shadow” senator’s seat has long been held by Michael D. Brown, who, like Mr. Strauss, touts himself as a U.S. senator. Mr. Brown is even referred to as the junior senator.

Yet he and Mr. Strauss are not paid by the government, receive no budget from the government and cannot vote on matters before the U.S. Senate.

Deception rules and undermines the efforts of D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the federal lawmaker who remains the only congressional representative for the nation’s capital.

And then there’s Congress, the White House and the states.

The Founders designated Washington, D.C., as a federal district, and endowed Congress as its chief caretaker, with control over its laws and appropriations. If D.C. voters and other stakeholders want to amend or erase the status, they must change the U.S. Constitution and win approval from the 50 states.

Pretending it has two U.S. senators and a bona fide U.S. representative won’t cut it, and President Biden can’t wave a magic wand and make D.C. No. 51.

If D.C. folks want to be a state, then they should stop wasting time trying to change the rules and jump in the game.

No “shadow” politicians. Get in the game that really matters.

Besides, 55% of Americans have spoken, and D.C. will need them on their side to flip a nationwide script on statehood.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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