For Republicans out there who are skeptical about the politics of DC, yes, the city as it stands right now is overwhelmingly Democratic. As a Republican student who calls DC home, it’s not the most ideal environment to make one’s voice heard at first glance.
There are only 30,000 registered Republicans in DC right now in a city that has over half a million residents. If there is a problem of representation in the District of Columbia, it’s the lack of Republicans that have a voice in this city.
The District of Columbia as a city has had its problems, and could use a lot of engaged college students and young professionals to help solve those problems. Although I’m originally from New Jersey, I live in DC at least nine months out of the year, not including most of the summers I spend here now. I find that more issues affect me living in the District than issues back in my home state where I barely spend more than a couple weeks at a time there.
Sometimes, those solutions can come if both parties are engaged in promoting them. The solution to some of DC’s problems may not always be Democratic ones, and a Republican constituency can help provide another perspective to a city whose only view seems to be liberal Democrat.
Even though the majority of DC council members are Democrat now, voting as a Republican in the District can help make politics in this city more balanced and put Republicans on the city council as well as Democrats.
Also, not all Democrats in DC are the same; some tend to be more conservative or liberal on issues than others, even though they identify with the Democratic Party because they are based on the constituents they represent.
However, many races in this city are non-partisan and affect your lives more than you think. There are over 276 Advisory Neighborhood Commission positions in DC that are non-partisan and effect things like parking policies, noise regulations, and building regulations. The State Board of Education election for DC is also non-partisan.
The University you currently attend may not always have what’s best for the students in mind, and voting in these local elections will tell your local government officials that it is not fair that the university should tear down local businesses favorable to students in favor of office space. GW is currently doing that on 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Given the ongoing statehood and budget autonomy debates for DC, Republicans and Democrats alike are needed if DC statehood becomes a viable option. After all, if DC does in fact become a state, the last thing we Republicans want is a socialist state in the United States of America. We also need to prove to Congress that we are a viable constituency that can be trusted with statehood.
Whether or not you choose to register to vote in DC or regardless of what party you choose to register with, DC local politics will affect you because you are a student in the District of Columbia. There is no incentive for change if no one expresses an interest in promoting change. If you want more “bang for your ballot,” you will certainly get more “bang for your ballot” in DC because your vote will directly impact so many local elections as well as national elections. With over 85,000 college students in the District of Columbia, we represent well over 10 percent of the city’s overall population. Unlike many Washingtonians who are taxed without representation, we can effectively make our voices heard as a significant voting bloc in the city.