Friday, May 12, 2006

A Representative for DC?

Pretty soon my total political disenfranchisement may be over.
Today a story broke in the Washington Post that a DC voting related bill will be considered:

The legislation, set to be unveiled at a news conference today, would expand the House from 435 to 437 seats, giving a vote to the District as well as a fourth seat to Utah, the state next in line to enlarge its congressional delegation based on the 2000 Census.

Some questions about this:

Is it the right move?
It is improper to disenfranchise members of this country. This is a major step towards giving us voting rights. We still should have senators but having a congressman is better than not.

Why is this good for the Dems from a partisan standpoint?
Well, Utah is awfully repugnican. On the other hand DC is very Dem, progressive even. In the short term it appears to be a wash. in the long term however the outlook is better because DC will be added to the reapportionment process. The house will be raised to 437. Utah may lose a seat or gain a seat in 2010 but DC will be guaranteed to retain at least one.

Why might this be good for the repugs?
Perhaps it is an attempt to blunt the push for DC getting senators.

What about Jim Matheson?
Matheson is one of the three reps from Utah and the only one who is a dem. there is a worry that if a congressional seat was added that the repugs would gerrymader the districts to screw Jim. The dems got the repugs to agree to make the Utah district an at-large district to avoid this problem.

Is this legal/constitutional? Can you just let a non-state have a congressperson? What are the other implications for DC's strange in-between status?
I don't have any good answers to these questions. It seems that it must be legal/constitutional or the post would have had someone quoted as saying it was dubious. perhaps i am overestimating the media. any of y'all know about this?


At 5/12/2006 , Blogger Ruby K said...

ZT for Congress in '08!

At 5/12/2006 , Anonymous alan said... has some info, but you probably already read it.

It pisses me off that this is part of the partisan games. If DC was 90% GOP it would deserve 2 senators and a congressperson too. What are the Republicans going to insist on for DC to get the senators its residents deserve as citizens of this country, to bring Guam into the Union to balance it out again??

(Anyone know if Guam is Republican? I doubt Puerto Rico is... maybe they could split a Dakota.)

At 5/12/2006 , Blogger ZT said...

ruby-k, if i run in 08 i am hopeful that you'll be able to vote for me as a resident of this nation's capital.

alan, i share your disgust at anyone, Dem or Repug who will play politics with the rights of people to be heard and represented. such a person is an enemy of democracy.

At 5/13/2006 , Anonymous BGS said...

First off, from all accounts it is constitutional. The Congress can pretty much decide for itself who votes there. Furthermore, as for Matheson, I'm convinced that the highly conservative Democrat is very effective as a politician and campaigner. He has survived one of the most awful gerrymandering after his freshman term.

As for Senators, yes it is a push to block that, but it's a little more complicated with the Senate. DC getting two Seantors totally screws with the Party balance issue. The Gentlemen (and even the women are gentlemen there) will probably be unhappy to give the vote. It would be two safe Democratic seats, and even the Democrats are unwilling to push that. Also, people will still be able to hide behind the fact that in essence, according to the framers, Seantors represent sovreign states in a federal union. It makes sense when you look at a treaty and nominations; it is the states, through the Seantors, that confirm and ratify, NOT the people (of course the idea of direct election dilutes this, but we are taking a conservative originalist stand).

A better solution on that would be to incorporate DC into Maryland for those purposes, but that has other issues.

Still, it's a good development. As anyone knows in this game, it takes time. Just look at how long it took my state to join the Union, even with a heavy military presence.

At 5/14/2006 , Blogger ZT said...

BGS--why MD and not VA?

At 5/16/2006 , Blogger bpteutsch said...

If you want REALLY good representation, move to North Dakota. You get 2 senators, one for every 350,000 people. Except of course then you need to LIVE in North Dakota, a slight drawback in the eyes of some. Jews in the Woods, Jews on the Prarie, whatev.


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