Thursday, April 1, 2010

It Sounded Good Until They Thought For A Minute

The Republicans and Tea Partiers are becoming famous for creating fear and suspicion of everything that the government does. (Or at least everything the Democratic-controlled government does; when the Republicans get the government back, everything will be hunky-dory.)

So it was without much thought that, when Republicans and Tea Partiers heard that the new census was coming up soon, the panties bunched and the bonnets filled with bees, and thoughtful cheerleaders of all things anti-government took to the airwaves to tell all real Americans that the census was bad, unconstitutional, fattening, and census workers would probably steal your garden gnomes if you let them near your house.

Then... a couple of months later, after all the loyal-but-brainless, scared-but-steadfast followers of these folks had hammered "No Census Workers" pickets on their front lawn, the same cheerlearders thought about what they had done for a minute.

Then, they remembered that Congressional redistricting is based on the census count. Then they remembered that Congressional districts have been gerrymandered based on voting patterns. Then they remembered that this upcoming census will not allow statistical sampling to be used (which would otherwise correct for people who don't respond to the census) because they themselves had worked so hard to get rid of it (because Democrat / minority areas are the areas most likely to need the aid of statistical sampling in census taking).

Then (and only then) did they realize what would happen if lots and lots of people who vote Republican don't fill out census forms...

Let's use Texas as an example. (Numbers are simplified for clarity.) Imagine if in Texas, where about 60% of people are Republican, 25% of Republicans refuse to fill out census forms. Well, most likely those 25% of Republicans live in only certain congressional districts (as in not in central city districts with large minority and immigrant populations).

That would mean that nationally Texas would lose probably 5 Congressional seats to other states... all of them Republican seats, since it was Republican districts where all the population "disappeared" according to the census. All of those Congressional seats would go to states (and areas of each state) where a higher portion of people filled out census forms — i.e. states with a higher percentage of Democrats.

All the Congressional districts in Texas would have to be redrawn to show a 15% reduction in voters, but more importantly, a 25% reduction in Republicans.

(Also, each census form that doesn't get returned in Texas represents a $12,000 loss to the state of federal funding for various programs in transportation, education, agriculture, health, and housing.)

So now, a bit contritely, the cheerleaders are back on the air, telling a rather different story about what to do when the census worker comes knocking.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jil,

I think thosae t-party people are a joke. I mean they are simply allowing themselves to be used as political tools while honestly accomplishing nothing.

M said...

Yes, a brighter bunch has not emerged in US politics for decades!

mataho in bkk