Robert Shapiro: “Why the 2020 Census Citizenship Question Matters in the 2018 Elections” (The American Prospect)

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The decennial census is a vital instrument in how Americans live their lives. Right now, the 2020 census is at risk and, with it, much that matters to all of us. The Trump administration, led here by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is seeking to use the census to send a message to President Trump’s base and to disadvantage their political opponents. Dismissing the advice and warnings of the statisticians and social scientists who oversee the Census Bureau, they have decided to include a question about every person’s citizenship status in the 2020 census. The result could well be a census that misses tens of millions of people, with consequences that will reverberate across the country. Although most pundits believe that the adverse impact will be concentrated in a few blue states, closer analysis shows it could cost blue, purple, and red states seats in Congress, and cost mainly red states billions of dollars in federal funding. Yet so far, among those with the legal standing to push back against this proposal—our state attorneys general—only those in Democratic states have stepped up.

Read more in The American Prospect (new window).