D.C. Statehood Redux: Retrocession

Jonah Goldberg joins me in supporting D.C. retrocession.

Statehood’s a joke. DC should rejoin Maryland, AKA retrocession. It’s not only the better solution, constitutionally, politically and economically, it’s the more plausible one. If Statehooders want representation in Washington, let them vote for two Maryland Senators and a couple Marlyand congressmen.

He gets e-mails from readers informing him that Maryland doesn’t want DC and proposing a mean-spirited reverse alternative:

Instead of giving DC back to Maryland, I’ve got a better idea – give Montomery and Prince George’s Counties to the District. That way, all the region’s leftist idiots will be stripped of voting representation in Congress – enabling the sensible folk of Southern Maryland, Western Maryland, and the Eastern Shore to actually have Senators we voted FOR. And trading Mikluski and Sarbanes in on candidates brighter than the average turnip would be a tremendous improvement to the whole Senate, benefiting the nation as a whole.

And another proposing a fairer alternative that’s still a non-starter:

While I like the suggestion of moving PG and Montgomery Counties into DC, why stop there? The Constitution places Alexandria and Arlington in the District as well (they were retroceded in the 19th Century, but that was an Act of Congress which could be repealed), they are both very leftie, why not put them back in the District where they belong? That would be a strict construction of the Constitution.

While Senator Byrd has tried for years, Homeland Security should lend impetus to moving Federal Government offices out of the District, and not just into surrounding jurisdictions (i.e., Montgomery, PG, Arlington, Alexandria), but into safer places like West Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma . . . . Leave only the top most levels of the Federal Government in the District and move the rest out into the country.

I still prefer turning residential DC over to Maryland (and repealing the 25th Amendment), which would give residents voting rights in the Senate and, pursuant to the next Census, a Representative as well. It’s understandable that Maryland wouldn’t want to inherit a slum but presumably some sort of compensation could be arranged.

Fortunately, the residents of the District’s Ward 8 guaranteed that statehood will remain off the table at least another twenty years.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ron says:

    “Fortunately, the residents of the District’s Ward 8 guaranteed that statehood will remain off the table at least another twenty years.”

    Exactly what I said while watching the returns. That was a “Barry” dumb move on their part.

  2. And if DC did become a state, it would totally f–k up the flag – which I think is the best reason for not doing it.

  3. carpeicthus says:

    Oooh, oooh, I’ve got an idea! Let’s just throw all Democrats off a cliff! That would be even better than systematically stripping them of their voting rights!

    What charming fellows NRO readers are.

  4. chris says:

    I just like the word “retrocession”! Actually, as a Maryland resident, this would be totally fine with me. Maryland has plenty of experience with slums and degraded inner cities (Baltimore). And remember, the midge and greek boy Sarbanes are from Baltimore, the heart of their political strength.

  5. The big problem with putting DC in Maryland is this: Baltimore wouldn’t stand for it.

    Under the current system, Baltimore dominates state politics, from what I understand. DC would be a very strong voice against Baltimore in this case.

    Now, moving Montgomery County (where I live) to DC could help, but again, Baltimore is a solid Democrat area – I don’t know if the rest of the state, minus the million or so here in the People’s Republic of Montgomery County, would be able to outvote Baltimore.

    (Incidentally, this is the same problem most Democrat states have – they have huge Democrat urban centers – Philiadelphia and Pittsburgh in PA, New York City in New York – both states I know of with this problem (Having grown up in PA and talked with frustrated voters in Western New York.)

  6. Chris says:

    What’s hi-larious is the fact that 2100 people voted for Barry and another 1200 or so voted for his competitor….in the de-facto general election.

    Figure Ward 8 has 10% of the district’s population at 57K and that people of voting age make up about 3/4 of that number. 90% of those are Dems, no doubt.

    So, out of say, 40K people, 3300 voted. About 8%. It’s all about getting the turnout, I suppose.