Tuesday is officially the last election day of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary campaign. Not that it matters much, of course: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is already the presumptive nominee. But going 57th in the primary order and having their votes rendered largely meaningless by the previous contests is nothing new to Tuesday’s set of voters – after all, we’re casting our ballots in the District of Columbia. Yes, adding a lot of insult to plenty of injury, the voters of Washington, D.C. – myself included – were stuck at the end of the presidential politics playlist, relegated to a footnote in the campaign, after already being largely disenfranchised at the national level. But it doesn’t have to be this way: That D.C. is still stuck in representative purgatory highlights one of the biggest mistakes Democrats made during the Obama era.
Remember, D.C. currently has no voting representation in Congress. Residents of the District can vote for president thanks to the 23rd Amendment, as well as the local mayor and city council, but they cast ballots for only one non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. Senate representation of any kind doesn’t exist.
The status quo is a ridiculous affront to American democracy. D.C. has a population of about 650,000 people. That’s larger than the population of two states, Vermont and Wyoming, that receive a full complement of congressional membership. When the drafters of the Constitution crafted the District, they surely didn’t envision their choices resulting in more than half a million Americans being taxed without representation, as D.C. license plates note. If they did, well, they got that one wrong.