No, DC Statehood Won’t Lead to Permanent Senate Majority for Democrats

Any conversation about DC statehood will inevitably include Republicans predicting a permanent influx of Democrats on Capitol Hill. But history reveals that two additional Democratic senators would rarely have made a difference in control of the Senate over the last half century.

In late June, the House of Representatives passed a DC statehood bill for the first time in American history. The GOP response to the bill (which is dead on arrival in the Senate) was immediate and furious. 

Republicans argued that admitting DC as a state would consign the GOP to permanent minority status in the upper chamber. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said this would “rig the rule of our democracy.” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called it “a brazen power grab by the Democratic Party to change the makeup of Congress in a manner that is detrimental to South Carolina.” Idaho Sen. Jim Risch put it simply: if DC (and Puerto Rico) become states, “Republicans will never be in the majority in the United States Senate.”

Putting aside that fact that Puerto Rico is not a reliable Democratic vote since it has sent both Democrats and Republican delegates to Congress over the past two decades, is it true that two additional Democratic senators would preclude Republicans from ever having a majority in the Senate?

With history as a guide, the answer appears to be no: a hypothetical DC statehood would have turned a Republican majority into a Democratic majority for just four months over the…

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