Presidential CandidatesWe've spent the last few months documenting each Presidential candidate's remarks and positions on democratic equality for the District of Columbia.
 
As the field narrows, we've reached out to each of the presidential candidates - from both major parties - inquiring about how they will go about granting equal rights to the people of the District should they be elected to serve in the White House. Click on the candidates name below to see the letter DC Vote sent to the candidate's campaign on March 15, 2016. Also, see below, the remarks, actions or positions of each candidate as it relates to democratic equality for the residents of Washington, DC.

Democrat:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

"Giving the 600,000 residents of the District of Columbia their fair representation in Congress is long overdue. It is why I applaud the House of Representatives for finally passing the DC Voting Rights Act today. Our nation was born out of a struggle against taxation without representation. And yet, even as we endeavor to promote democracy around the world, it is shameful that we deny our own American citizens who live in the District the right to voting representation in Congress. This injustice tarnishes our democracy as a whole. The right to be represented in the national legislature is fundamental to our core American values. I hope the Senate will act swiftly to pass the DC Voting Rights Act and that the President will not delay in signing this long overdue legislation into law." –Then Senator Clinton’s Statement about the 2007 DC Voting Rights Act (2007)

In 2015, when asked about her support of DC by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Clinton told her, “I have always been with you, Eleanor. Of course I support D.C. statehood.”

Lacking representatives with voting power, the District of Columbia is often neglected when it comes to federal appropriations. Many of the District’s decisions are also at the mercy of right-wing ideologues in Congress, and as you can imagine, they don’t show very much of it. Everything from commonsense gun laws to providing women’s health care and efforts to cut down on drug abuse has been halted by Republicans, who claim the District is an exception to their long-held notion that communities ought to be able to govern themselves.  Solidarity is no longer enough. We need a solution.

That’s why, as president, I will be a vocal champion for D.C. statehood. Washingtonians are Americans, too, and it’s time they had a say in their own status. “  -- Hillary Clinton

Read More from Secretary of State Clinton

Republican:

Donald Trump

“I would like to do whatever is good for the District of Columbia because I love the people. You know, it's funny. I've really gotten to know the people, the representatives, and the mayor, and everybody. They're really special people. They're great. And they have a great feeling. So I would say whatever's best for them I'm for.” – Trump being interviewed by Chuck Todd on Meet The Press (2015).

While speaking to the Washington Post Editorial Board on March 21, 2016 Trump said about DC Statehood "I think statehood is a tough thing for D.C. I think it’s a tough thing. I don’t have a position on it yet. I would form a position. But I think statehood is a tough thing for D.C." and "I don’t see statehood for D.C." When asked about granting DC residents about a vote in the House of Representatives he responsed "I think that’s something that would be okay. Having representation would be okay."

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Communications intern Benjamin Freundlich contributed to this post.

Voting Rights

Comments

Calling it New Columbia will be confusing. Its abbreviation will be NC, one already taken by North Carolina. I propose calling us New State, abbreviation NS. The name evokes the desirable connotation that we try new things and take responsibility for results. Thanks for your communication and best wishes!

None of the candidates' views on DC statehood surprised me except for Trump's! Who knew?! His apparent support of DC statehood (or at least lack of interest in opposing statehood) isn't enough to get me to vote for him, but it certainly underscores that this guy is unpredictable, pragmatic, and, occasionally, correct. However, he is, overall, a nut job, so I'm sticking with Clinton for 2016. Thank you to DC Vote for fighting for DC citizens' right to equal representation! -Lyle

In 1976, two slates of prominent DC Democrats ran as "uncommitted" presidential convention delegates. Many of them were elected to go to the convention. The goal was to have maximum leverage for a DC statehood plank in the Democratic platform and firm commitments to action on full DC congressional representation from presidential candidates. 2016 is a year when that can and should happen again, by both DC Democrats and Republicans. The delegates are released from their pledged candidates after the first ballot at the conventions, but nailing down the platform position and candidate commitments is critical to moving DC Vote's agenda forward. The leverage, especially in the Republican Party, is ours for the asking if multiple candidates and weak margins from primaries persist.

We deserve to have the privilege of statehood.

Statehood is a bad idea. DC is greater than a state. It should be called the National Capital Territory and have full representation in Congress and complete home rule.

One option: Create an At-Large category of national voting for American citizens who are neither residents of the fifty states, nor "expatriate" Americans living in non-US territories (ie, residents of DC, Puerto Rico, the territories, etc. OR, Residents of non-state US jurisdictions declare affinity or affiliation with a specific US state, and are allowed to vote absentee in the declared state, as if they were resident.

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