Senator Mike Rounds’s latest fundraising e-mail, seeking contributions to the “Senate Georgia Battleground Fund,” shows the bullet points the National Republican Senate Committee apparently finds make the donor focus groups twitch with terror:
National Democrats want to defund police, open our borders, raise taxes, make DC a state, and take away our freedom. The Senate is our Firewall to stop their agenda and we cannot afford to lose it [Rounds for Senate, fundraising e-mail, 2020.11.19].
Defund the police, open borders, raise taxes—yeah, we expect that in a Rounds/Republican pitch. But DC statehood is rising to the top of the arguments now? That’s an interesting expression of the Republican drive to apartheid!
Rounds’s focus on DC statehood as a threat to democracy (remember, in Trumpistan, more Americans participating and enjoying representation in the political system is a bad thing) is not a new GOP phenomenon. Republicans were using anti-DC-statehood taglines (not arguments, just dog-whistles) in campaign appeals before the general election. Republicans clearly see America shifting away from their Trumpist, white-supremacist agenda and are desperate to continue rigging the electoral map to thwart the will of the people. Keeping the District of Columbia, which is 46% white, 46% black, and 92% Biden) from electing two Senators to represent their interests is part of that anti-democratic agenda. Last month, House Republicans introduced three bills seeking to block D.C. statehood by either retroceding the District to Maryland or by rewriting the Constitution to prohibit any future states from having Senate representation:
The two bills for retrocession to Maryland have no support from either the District or Maryland. In fact, a huge majority of D.C. residents, 86%, voted for statehood in a 2016 referendum. Retrocession would be inconsistent with that referendum vote and the District’s current pursuit of self-determination. The retrocession bills concede that the geographical size of the federal district can be reduced, as our statehood bill would do.
Moreover, Maryland residents, who have only one large city, Baltimore, have never indicated or voted to add another, the District of Columbia. In fact, Maryland’s most senior Member, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, is not only a cosponsor of our D.C. statehood bill, he wrote a Washington Post op-ed piece strongly promoting D.C. statehood.
The third bill, a constitutional amendment, purports to limit the composition of the Senate to senators who are from states admitted to the Union prior to the current Congress. This far-fetched attempt to keep D.C. from becoming the 51st state has not even drawn Republican support. It is even more unlikely to succeed because the constitutional amendment concedes that D.C. statehood is constitutional and that only a constitutional amendment can block it [Rep. Eleanor Norton Holmes, press release, 2020.10.14].
The Washington Post editorial board notes that the residents of D.C. deserve statehood, but Republicans, as demonstrated by their efforts to sabotage voting and overturn the results of a fair and secure Presidential election, choose power over people and principle:
U.S. citizens — no matter their party affiliation — deserve to be fully represented in Congress. The population of D.C. is larger than that of Wyoming or Vermont, D.C. residents pay more in federal taxes than those living in 22 states, and Washingtonians live up to all their responsibilities as citizens, including going to war to serve their country. Yet they are denied a voice in Congress.
Republicans know that is just plain wrong. But just as they have sought to hold onto their power by systematically making it harder for people to vote, so are they willing to play politics with the civil rights of the U.S. citizens who live in D.C. [Washington Post editorial board, “Republicans Know D.C. Deserves to Be a State, But Their Own Power Takes Precedence,” via Hagerstown Regional Airport Information, 2020.11.15].
Republican understand they can’t win in an America that gives every American an equal vote and equal representation in Congress. Rounds’s fundraising flagging of D.C. statehood as a primary threat to the “Our Voice. Our Values” in his e-mail banner is one more expression of that loathing of We the People and a truly inclusive and more Perfect Union.
By the way, the fine print on the WinRed fundraising website to which Rounds’s e-mail links says that individuals can give the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund up to $254,100. They promise the first $5,600 will be split equally between the campaign funds of Senators Kelly Loeffler (who faces ethics complaints for soliciting campaign contributions in the U.S. Capitol) and David Perdue (that’s Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue’s cousin). Contributions above $5,600 will go to the NRSC, its legal fund, and its headquarters account.