There are about 700,000 Americans living in the continental U.S. who, by law, have to do what the rest of the country tells them. And they’re all neighbors, living in Washington, D.C.
Almost 90 percent of them say they want D.C. to become the 51st state, and momentum has never been higher among Congressional Democrats to make that happen. But unified opposition among Republicans, who argue D.C. statehood is really just a power grab in the Senate, means their efforts appear doomed for the foreseeable future.
The upshot is that a population bigger than either Wyoming or Vermont effectively doesn’t get a vote in Congress, because they live in a place that was specially established as a federal district over 200 years ago. And what’s more, members of Congress from other states can get together to override local D.C. politicians’ plans.
This week, VICE News’ video series, The Couch Report, breaks down what D.C.’s lack of statehood means for the people who live there, from drug policy to the Capitol riot on January 6th, 2021.