Walking along M Street NW from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in West End, past the Four Seasons in Georgetown, to the Francis Scott Key bridge that takes one to Arlington, Virginia, was usually pleasant, a stroll through one of DC’s most upscale shopping districts. But today, one thing you'll notice is that every fourth or fifth storefront is closed, for lease, papered over, or boarded up. When the city was still mask-mandated and locked down—and other towns and cities were on fire, disrupted by rioting or occupied by “autonomous zones”—this might’ve seemed normal.
DC isn’t locked down anymore. Yet Georgetown and other areas remain surprisingly vacated. DC is shrinking. This week we learned that Washington, DC was one of the top cities homebuyers now want to move AWAY from. Insurrectionists will no longer need to come here to protest the deep state or the political class. If they just wait until 2050, at the current rate of de-population, Washington, D.C. will cease to exist. DC has lost almost three percent of its population every year since 2019, just under 20,000 residents a year. So far it has lost almost 50,000 people, dropping from 705,000 to just over 657,000.
In local news, and on local platforms like Nextdoor, you can see the many problems DC is having, and read local residents’ complaints about them: car jackings; pet owners having their dogs stolen at gunpoint; large homeless encampments on many available pieces of green space; vagrants and the mentally ill defecating in resident’s yards or on public sidewalks; children on school playgrounds throwing rocks at cars as they drive by; people shooting at cats sleeping on window ledges; a naked man walking down 18th St. past restaurants in broad daylight; all-terrain vehicles noisily racing down urban streets; two a.m. fireworks in residential neighborhoods like Kingman Park; constant breaking of car windows and thefts from cars (leading the Georgetown Citizen’s Association to put up permanent warning signs); panhandlers and raving lunatics, some spouting genocidal racism on Metro platforms; gropers and other sexual harassers on buses and subways.
It’s easy to see why—even aside from lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates and high rents—people are leaving DC. DC elected officials don’t talk about this. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton had a July 4th tweet with a beautiful photo of Independence Day fireworks, noting that “nearly 700,000” in DC do not have the full representation American citizens fought for in creating a constitutional republic. It’s not just that her numbers are out of date. One of the arguments for DC Statehood—making DC the 51st state—is that DC has a larger population than some states that have two senators. But soon this won’t be true. While DC was shrinking from 2019 to 2022 not only nearby urban areas—like Alexandria, Virginia or Philadelphia—grew, but so did those states that the DC Statehood activists often cite. At current rates DC will have a smaller population than Vermont in a year or two, and a smaller population than Wyoming in three or four.
You’d think DC politicians and Statehood activists would argue that the absence of full representation in the Senate is what’s driving people to leave DC. But instead they blamed Covid. When the DC Libertarian Party tweeted a warning about the shrinking DC population, and asked that we consider what policies were leading people to leave, Holmes Norton’s communications staffer, Sharon Eliza Nichols, also blamed Covid. When the Libertarian account tweeted the Roll Call video of Del. Norton hitting other cars while she attempted to park, asking if the staffer thought it was Norton's bad driving leading residents to flee, the staffer replied that the question was “ugly.”
The staffer then tweeted something she’s since deleted, saying she’d called the national Libertarian Party office and spoken with its Executive Director about how “an account claiming to be the DC LP had been harassing her on her personal twitter account" (private email from Tyler Harris, Executive Director of the national Libertarian Party). (If it was her “private Twitter” why was she replying to tweets critical of Del. Norton’s public account and its posts from it?) "Have a great evening!" she wrote. (The LP’s national executive director denies her story.) The DC LP account replied that Nichols was a fool, and that one of the noble things about Del. Norton had always been that she serves in Congress while caring for an adult disabled daughter, and that she really didn't need to also care for an impaired staffer. Slyly seeing a sophistical way to change her losing narrative, Nichols claimed that the LP was somehow belittling Del. Norton’s daughter, when inreality it was belittling her. Nichols has since deleted most of these tweets, though I have screenshots of them.
Two or three of her friends attempted a rather weak ratioing. Then two days later Twitter suspended the Libertarian account (libertarian_dc) claiming it was “impersonating” some imaginary real DC Libertarian Party Twitter account. But not that it was making fun of the disabled, Nichols’ sly “woke” lie.
That’s one way to not discuss which policies of the incumbent political class—incumbents who were just re-elected in the primary with only 27 percent of DC registered voters turning out—are driving DC’s residents away. But for the 73 percent of DC voters who didn’t find anyone worth voting for in their party's primary, for DC residents who want no more lockdowns and mandates, for DC residents who want free speech, for DC Democrats who didn't vote for the incumbents in the primary and don't want to vote for them in the general election, there’s an alternative. They should vote Libertarian.