Do you know what that means?
Of course it’s the year we have a good chance of booting Donald Trump from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It’s also a year that ends in zero, which means, according to Article one, section two of the Constitution, “Every subsequent Term of ten Years…Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers [sic].”
In other words, it’s time for the census.
Most people are probably unaware official government forms don’t get mailed until next month, so the Grand Old Republican Party is taking advantage of their ignorance by mailing out mock-census questionnaires resembling actual census forms.
You should be aware it is not a census form–it is the Republican National Committee (RNC) soliciting for a donation.
A telltale sign: authentic census questionnaires will not inquire about respondents’ political views.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, stated:
“This is a perversion of the normal functioning of government. Its timing is particularly objectionable because it will confuse people and discourage them from actually participating in the official census.”
As Los Angeles Times reporter Sarah Wire wrote:
“[It’s] designed to confuse people and possibly lower the response rate when the count begins in mid-March. Unlike the official Census form, the RNC survey is largely made up of political questions, such as whether the respondent supports using military force against Iran, thinks race relations in the country are getting worse and believes ‘political correctness’ has gotten out of hand.”
The fear of deception is not unfounded nor to be taken lightly.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) explained to the Los Angeles Times she feared recipients would “toss their actual Census envelope because they’ve already filled this one out…We want everyone to be responding to the actual 2020 Census. There is a real risk of harm here.”
“With billions of dollars in federal funding on the line and a chance that California could lose a seat in Congress based on the Census results, critics worry some residents will fill out the mock Census document and ignore or throw away the real one.”
But, of course, it’s not just Democratic California or New York.
If enough residents choose to abstain from the census, states’ populations risk being under-counted, resulting in fewer congressional seats and less money allocated for infrastructure investments and other public expenditures, like schools, fire departments, police protection, and social services.
This isn’t the first time the RNC has perpetrated this fraud.
The last phony forms the RNC produced in 2010 led to Congress passing a law–the “Prevent Deceptive Census Lookalike Mailings Act“–which prohibits non-government groups from sending through U.S. mail solicitations containing the word “census” on the envelope.
Does this mean the RNC is breaking the law?
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the act’s sponsor, responded when learning of the recent con:
“Clearly, the RNC has found a way to skirt the law deliberately, making their actions even more reprehensible. These mailings sow confusion at a time when the public needs clarity about the census–putting an accurate count in danger. I am now working to strengthen the language of the Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act so that these dirty political tricks can’t be used in the future.”
New York Rep. Nita Lowey, added:
“Republicans seem to have a ceaseless imagination when it comes to both fundraising and undermining the accuracy of the census. Soliciting campaign donations under the guise of a census document is fraudulent, predatory, and the latest way Republicans have threatened an accurate census count.”
This effort failed after reaching the Supreme Court.
The Republican party has not legitimately won the White House since Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.
From foreign trolls and bots, Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting, right-wing hate radio, dog-whistle (and not-so-dog-whistle) racism, mendacious Facebook ads, voter suppression, and Donald Trump’s thousands of lies, the Republican party has its machine’s gears well-oiled.
Although messing with the census is not new, it’s one more piece of evidence pointing toward the GOP’s disdain for democracy.
When it comes down to it, though, waving a flag is meaningless when one’s actions belie the very principles he or she claims to uphold.
Image credit: en.wikipedia.org