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SCOTUS Will Decide if GOP Can Sabotage the 2020 Census and Our Democracy

Wilbur Ross
News & Analysis

On February 15, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case challenging the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. This is an extremely important case that will have an enormous impact on whether the Trump administration and the GOP will succeed in their efforts to destroy our democracy from within.

As a constitutional requirement, the census endeavors to count everyone. It provides the population information used to draw lines for congressional districts and state legislative districts. Under one-person-one-vote, each congressional district must have about the same number of people as every other. States also use this requirement in their own redistricting.

Adding a completely unnecessary citizenship question is a declaration of war against Latinos and other immigrants, as well as against democracy. It would—by intention—cause massive undercounts in populations with significant numbers of undocumented immigrants and their families, who would fear having the information used to deport or otherwise harm them. Rigorous research by the federal government itself shows that these people would simply refuse to return their census form.

This would unfairly help the GOP immensely, because the people they would be frightening out of responding to the census just happen to live in predominantly Democratic communities. District lines would be drawn as if these people living in the United States simply don’t exist. It would cause massive undercounting in Democratic areas and thus massive underrepresentation in Democratic areas.

Adding a census question would sabotage a fundamental essence of our democratic system of government. Hand in hand with the GOP’s voter suppression efforts, rigging the 2020 Census would rig the system to help make it more difficult for the people to vote Republicans out of office.

But avoiding democratic accountability is standard operating procedure for the modern GOP. Perhaps if they had an agenda that didn’t hurt so many innocent people, they wouldn’t be afraid of fair elections.