Denizens of the District of Columbia: Are you tired of being treated like third-class citizens? Have you had enough of congressmen—especially those who espouse the importance of local control—making decisions for you about everything from abortion to guns to making the cash-strapped District government pay to changing the Metro station maps to say "Ronald Reagan National Airport" instead of the equally understood "National Airport?"
The Republican Party has a solution for you. Move to Puerto Rico.
The party's platform has this to say about residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with a Republican governor:
We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a State, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.
Well, that sounds reasonable. Let's let the people decide what status they want, and hey, if they'd like to be the 51st state, welcome to you.
Not so for the District of Columbia and its residents, who pay federal and local taxes but have no substantive say in how their federal taxes are spent, and whose local budget must be approved by Congress. The party platform describes the District as a den of evil and corruption, and chastises congressional Democrats for opposing efforts GOP congressmen have made to control the District—which, not incidentally, is overwhelmingly Democratic. The city, the platform states, "belongs both to its residents and to all Americans, millions of whom visit it every year." That's true, but the American visitors get to vote locally for fully voting members of the House and Senate, and through them, have a say in how their tax money is used.
And the platform notes:
D.C.'s Republicans have been in the forefront of exposing and combating the chronic corruption among the city's top Democratic officials. We join their call for a non-partisan elected Attorney General to clean up the city's political culture and for congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act assuring minority representation on the City Council. After decades of inept one-party rule, the city's structural deficit demands congressional attention.
What is that supposed to mean—that Democrats are inherently corrupt? That the law needs to be changed to put more Republicans on the City Council, even if the largely Democratic District voters don't want them? When did Republicans become a suspect classification under the 14th amendment of the Constitution?
The Republican platform doesn't mention the District's homeless or poor or under-educated. But the GOP cares about public transportation—if only to help them get the hell out of Dodge City in the event of an attack:
As the center of our government, the District contains many potential targets for terrorist attacks. Federal security agencies should work closely with local officials and regional administrations like the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority. A top priority must be ensuring that all public transportation, especially Metro rails, is functioning in the event of an emergency evacuation. Also, to ensure protection of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, we call on the governing authority to pass laws consistent with the Supreme Court's decisions in the District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago cases, which upheld the fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
Sure, that's just what local police and federal law enforcement need in a city that is a terrorist target—more guns.
But they won't get a say, along with the rest of the city, under the GOP vision. Putting it bluntly, the platform says:
We oppose statehood for the District of Columbia.
There's always Puerto Rico.
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