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Taxation without Representation? Welcome to Washington, DC!

February 4, 2012

When looking at the long-overlooked issue of the underrepresentation, or, more accurately, absence of representation of Washington DC citizens in the Federal Government, an immediate democratic deficit becomes apparent quite quickly. This problem is best illustrated by one simple graph:

The fact of the matter is, the population of Washington DC is significantly higher than that of the entire state of Wyoming. Wyoming, being the least populated state in the nation, has a population of just over 544,000 as compared to DC’s population of approximately 599,000. This is a very significant obstacle to the notion that America is a true democracy. I’ve already argued as to the illegitimacy of the US Senate as a ‘democratic’ governing body, especially with regards to the filibuster, but nothing more effectively communicates the democratic deficit than the contrast between the representation of the populations of our national capital and the state of Wyoming.

Because it has the smallest population of any state, Wyoming citizens are subsequently the most overrepresented citizens in the country, with the representation of each individual Wyoming voter being equal to 67 California voters in the senate and four times the impact of California voters in presidential elections.

Washington DC has a larger population than the state of Wyoming, but lacks any representation at all in the Federal government, while Wyoming is, conversely, the most overrepresented state in the union because of its comparatively tiny population.

We have a electoral status quo that obviously and arbitrarily creates first- and second-class citizens for no rational or defensible reason.

Either DC should have representation or Wyoming should not. It’s that simple. And, in the very least, if there’s going to be representation for one and not the other, the larger population should be afforded the votes. From any logical, utilitarian standpoint, this is simply a nonsensical policy, and its continuity is unacceptable.


From → Democracy, Politics

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