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    • I know @gorudy and I have had discussions on the generational impact of who ends up sitting in the White House next year. Now imagine a situation where one party benefits for the next ten years if communities are undercounted in the Census.

      Some congressmen are putting forth legislation to extend the deadline to complete the Census.

      Is there historical precedent for this? Can’t McConnell just kill the legislation by not allowing the Senate to vote on it? Or will public pressure actually force his hand during the Coronavirus pandemic?

      Tagging @Shewmaker

    • According to Wikipedia's article ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Census )

      According to the Census Bureau, “Census Day” has been April 1 since
      1930. Previously, from 1790 to 1820, the census counted the population
      as of the first Monday in August. It moved to June in 1830, (June 2 in
      1890), April 15 in 1910, and January 1 in 1920.

      Regrettably the footnote for that statement goes to a page on the Census Bureau's website which doesn't discuss the history of the US Census but rather the history of Roosevelt's CCC.

    • Now imagine a situation where one party benefits for the next ten years if communities are undercounted in the Census.

      quick Census 101 questions for people who perhaps have lived in the US for 37 years and still don't really know what the census is for besides counting people (asking for a friend)...

      What happens after the census is complete? How might it result in a situation where one party benefits over another?

    • There are two original purposes for the census, although it is now used for more purposes.

      The first purpose is to determine how many "house of representive" members each state is allocated.

      The second purpose is to determine how many electoral votes each state will have in choosing the president.

      Either party is "benefited" when the states that tend to vote for a specific party receive a larger allocation than the states which vote for the other party.

    • Okay, I’ll try to educate your 37 year old self. Truth be told, I only learned these details within the last couple years.

      The Census decides how much money a community gets. The more people who are counted, including undocumented immigrants, the more money your community gets in federal assistance.

      The Census also decides how many House representatives a state gets. The larger the population counted, the more representatives.

      Two of the largest populations are New York City and California. They are both highly Democratic voters. So reducing the Census count reduces the number of representatives they get.

      The Virus affects Democratic strongholds more. If you consider that densely populated areas, like Democratic California and New York City, are likely to have higher rates of infection than the more spread out Republican rural parts of the Midwest, it’s possible that fewer people will be counted in California and New York City than in a Red State.

      (As a tangent, the Trump administration wanted to ask a citizenship question in order to decrease the number of undocumented immigrants who would participate in the Census. The sanctuary cities are in Democratic leaning cities. So if you count fewer immigrants then fewer Democratic representatives in Congress.)

      And then there’s Gerrymandering. A lot of the Republican controlled states have been Gerrymandered. I believe it occurred because the Republican controlled state legislatures, after the 2010 Census, got to divide up the territories for each of the gained representatives. What Gerrymandering means in practice is that even if there are more Democratic voters in one of those states, you will end up with a disproportionate number of Republican representatives elected to Congress.

      So even though fewer total representatives could end up in Congress because of a smaller Census count, due to the Coronavirus, the Republican Party will do better.

      Anyone else, if any of the above is wrong then feel free to correct me.

    • The only issue I have is with what you wrote about gerrymandering. Both parties gerrymander. There have been efforts to mitigate gerrymandering in some places, but to suggest that gerrymandering is either a republican party or democratic party thing is to misrepresent the facts. Both parties do it.

    • I agree with you that both parties engage in gerrymandering. However, my understanding is that Republicans have been significantly more successful over the past decade with their gerrymandering efforts. There was a coordinated effort by Republicans to accomplish this with the 2010 Census.

      It was never a secret. In 2010, the conservative political strategist Karl Rove took to the Wall Street Journal and laid out a plan to win majorities in state legislatures across the country.

      "He who controls redistricting can control Congress," read the subhead to Rove's column.

      The plan, which its architects dubbed REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project, hinged on the fact that states redraw their electoral maps every 10 years according to new Census data. REDMAP targeted states where just a few statehouse seats could shift the balance to Republican control in the crucial Census year of 2010.

      That plan worked spectacularly. It's why today Republicans have a majority in nearly two-thirds of the country's state legislative chambers. And it's why in 2012 Democratic statehouse candidates won 51 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania, which voted for Barack Obama in the presidential election, yet those candidates ended up with only 28 percent of the seats in the legislature.

      It’s also relevant, IMO, that Republicans have been the most vocal in preventing efforts to end gerrymandering. And that the courts recent rejections of gerrymandering efforts, including North Carolina’s redistricting, have all been on Republican attempts.

      I spoke to a Democratic Party legislator in my home state a few years ago and she freely admitted that both sides engaged in this behavior and she was trying to get passed legislation to have the redistricting determined by a map districting expert (I forget the title she used, but it was something different from cartographer). The map drawn would then be reviewed and approved by a panel of judges.

      Unfortunately, it’s part of a larger problem with undemocratic efforts to deny representation in the United States. In other countries there is weekend voting so that more working adults can vote. As a result of the US’s failure to allow multiple days of voting, upper income voters and retirees, who skew more conservative, have an oversized advantage in getting their votes in. In person early voting, even when it’s legal, can be relegated to one or two out of the way locations that are not easily accessible by bus, which reduces the number of working poor who can take advantage of in person early voting. Lastly, these locations in my state are only open between 8am and 3pm, meaning you would have to take off work.

      There is also efforts to reduce the number of polling locations to the advantage of one party or one candidate over another: on Tuesday there were three hour long lines on college campuses and inner cities. Are you realistically going to wait that long? Many voters chose to leave without voting at those locations. I don’t remember any news reports of three hour long lines in the suburbs or at nursing homes, which skew moderate to conservative.

    • @StephenL There are many in the Democratic party that would oppose gerrymandering. For one thing, the making of some of the solid blue seats in the house and the making of some of the "always a minority representative" seats depends on gerrymandering.

      One of the biggest reasons that the civil rights movement has been as successful as it has thus far been has been due to gerrymandering. There are some leaders in the movement who would assert that the party was betraying its minority base if gerrymandering was eliminated.