Paul Strauss, “ghost senator” from Washington, DC, leads the Democrats’ fight to make it the 51st American state

“Okay, it will take[it] a new flag, with one more star, but is that a reason to refuse? “ Asked by The world on the arguments opposed to those who want to make Washington, DC, the 51e American state, Paul Strauss is dubious.

With his colleague Mike Brown, he is one of the “ghost senators” (shadow senators) of the District of Columbia, home to the federal capital, not to be confused with Washington State, located on the west coast of the United States. Both represent the people of the city, but do not sit in Congress – as is the case in some non-state American territories, such as Puerto Rico. Eleanor Holmes Norton, she is elected to the House of Representatives, but only has observer status. These three Democrats are the leading figures of the movement which wants to change the status of the federal capital.

A battle joined by Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, DC, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the bosses of the Democratic Party in Congress, or even Stacey Abrams, a major figure in the training, determined to take advantage of the blue wave that brought Joe Biden to the White House and allowed Democrats to win the House of Representatives.

Because, for more than two centuries, the inhabitants of DC have lived in a legal in-between which dates back to the founding of the United States, but which represents an anomaly in the 21st century.e century. With more than 712,000 inhabitants, the federal capital is as populated as states like Vermont or Wyoming. And, although the latter pay taxes and serve in the military, they are under-represented in Congress. A situation that some do not hesitate not to denounce even on their license plate by the mention « taxation without representation » (taxes without elected officials).

Social justice issue

For Paul Strauss, doing Washington, DC, the 51e State is also a matter of social justice, considering that the city is sometimes dubbed « Chocolate City », due to its large black population (71% in the 1970s, 45% today):

“We have to go back to a shameful tradition: that of the denial of equality towards populations who are not white. ”

But for that, it will be necessary to overcome the hostility of the Republicans and to win the support of three-fifths of the Senate.

In the eyes of the supporters of this project, it is the behavior of Donald Trump and his supporters that has reinforced the urgency of transforming Washington into a state with full rights.

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