The Coup Proves It’s Time for D.C. Statehood

As insurrectionists took over the Capitol, the District of Columbia was unable to stop them

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

The case to make the District of Columbia the 51st state is stronger than ever after insurrectionists descended on the U.S. Capitol today in an attempt to prevent Congress from lawfully certifying Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.

Proponents of D.C. statehood have long said that citizens of the nation’s capital should be allowed to self-govern, and now they have a case study to bolster their argument. Because D.C. is not a state and has no governor, it had no way of activating the National Guard today. Instead, the city had to wait for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to request it, and then for the Pentagon to green-light its use. The delay in response allowed for the mob to gain even more ground in the Capitol and remain there for hours pretty much unstopped.

The bind of not being a state also explains the heavy federal police presence in D.C. during the anti-racism protests this past summer. It was in President Trump’s interest to stop the Movement for Black Lives. Today’s insurrection, by contrast, was done in his name.

But the attempted coup has given D.C. statehood proponents significant momentum. And now that Democrats have full control of the U.S. Senate, it could be closer than ever.

Journalist covering politics, elections, immigration, feminism, and more. Puertorriqueña.

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