It’s like we don’t want any extra Congresspeople

As someone once said, where’s the outrage?

For months, as Texans have been asked to stay home to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus, Jennifer Edwards has been doing the rounds at gas stations in a trio of counties near the Texas-Louisiana border.

Volunteering as a census community organizer, the Tarleton State University professor reasoned that gas stations, like grocery stores, would continue to see foot traffic during the pandemic. Setting up a booth just outside the front doors offered her face time with essential workers to deliver an essential message — please fill out the census.

“When we’re meeting with people in front of the tractor supply or the dollar store or the gas station … the communication is focused on ‘Well when does it end, what’s the deadline?’” said Edwards, who had been sharing the pandemic-induced October deadline for counting every person living in the U.S. for the once-a-decade census.

But on Monday evening, the U.S. Census Bureau upended the timeline Edwards and hundreds of other organizers, volunteers and local officials had been working under. After previously stating the census would run through Oct. 31, the bureau announced it was cutting the count short by a month, moving up the deadline for responding to Sept. 30.

The October cutoff had offered organizers crucial overtime for the count after the coronavirus pandemic derailed a ground game for canvassing and outreach efforts that in some regions of the state had been in the works for years. Now, the earlier deadline is heightening risks that Texas will be undercounted and that some Texans, particularly those who are low-income or Hispanic, will be missed in the count as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage their communities.

The schedule change comes at a key point in the count. The bureau has started its door-to-door campaign to follow up with households that have not yet filled out the census online, by phone or by mail, but census workers won’t reach some communities in Texas, like the Rio Grande Valley, that are at the highest risk of being missed until next week.

“It seems like not only are they cutting back the time they’re giving themselves to do this nonresponse follow up, but they’re also allocating the least amount of time in the hardest-to-count places in the state,” said Lila Valencia, a senior demographer at the Texas Demographic Center.

This follows Donald Trump’s efforts to exclude certain people from the Census data for redistricting purposes, as well as the state’s refusal to pay for any effort to do a thorough Census count. It’s like there’s a conspiracy to keep Texas from getting the up to three additional members of Congress that it would be due if everything went as it should. And also, you know, billions and billions of federal money that our taxes contribute to that will instead flow to other states because the Census says we have a lot fewer people than we actually do. I get what Trump’s motivations are here. I have a much harder time understanding why this isn’t a problem for Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and every Republican running for Congress. Why do they all want to hurt Texas like this? It’s a question that should get asked, a lot.

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8 Responses to It’s like we don’t want any extra Congresspeople

  1. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    The census results are going to be a disaster. They will show a loss of population in Texas over the last 10 years.

    This is about the state legislature more than the US congress.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    “Why do they all want to hurt Texas like this? It’s a question that should get asked, a lot.”

    A: Because it’s worth losing a little funding in order to keep liberals from having extra Democrat Congress critters from Texas. This is exactly why Trump is trying so hard to keep illegals from being counted towards redistricting. If all those illegal aliens and their anchors were Trump voters, or even just Republicans, you wouldn’t see this kind of push back. Having extra D seats makes it that much harder to retake the House. How would you like the prospect of adding three new Louie Gohmert type districts in Texas? Would that be OK with everybody here?

    I can assure everyone that the prospect of adding 3 new She Jacks, or Lizzies, or Al Greens, is very unappealing to Cruz, Cornyn, Abbott, etc.

  3. Ross says:

    Who gives a shit what Abbott. Trump, etc think. This is not about them and their disgusting desire for more power. Its about following the damn law and counting everyone present in the US.

  4. C.L. says:

    Ross, ignore the troll.

  5. Mainstream says:

    The Constitution requires that everyone present in the country be counted, although I am unsure if foreign diplomats have historically been included in the counts.

    If non-citizens (illegal or on a visa) were evenly distributed among the states, and among all sorts of neighborhoods within the states, the impact on redistricting would be negligible.

    The fairness problem is when we create a district relying on the whole population data, for example in Gulfton, theoretically to empower Latino political influence, but because so few there can vote, it really operates to elect candidates not preferred by Latinos. District J in the City of Houston, or the similar state House district in that area come to mind.

    The further problem is that the small number of citizen-voters in those districts have disproportionate influence, which seems unfair to voters in other parts of the city. While 7,271 voters in District J elected one member of the city council, 46,653 voters in central/west District D chose one member; 37,370 voters in west-side District G elected another member of the same council. 30,759 in Kingwood/Clear Lake District E elected one member, and 25,983 in Third Ward District D chose one member.

    Does anyone remember the history of “rotten boroughs”?

  6. Mainstream says:

    Also not sure how foreign tourists have been treated for census counts.

  7. Gary Bennett says:

    There used to be a shared belief among Texas legislators & state officials of both parties that the interests of the state came first; as the state grew in population, that consensus helped ensure that all sorts of opportunities, from defense plants in Fort Worth to NASA in Houston (and the ultimately doomed particle accelerator in Waxahachie), would fall to the state and help it become one of the powerhouses of America. But today’s GOP is different: it is all about the party’s power & implementation of a cruel ideology, and there is no room left over for love of state or even country.

  8. Douglas Pierre says:

    There is no limit on what a Republican Congressperson would do for Donald Trump. The way they see it, the wrath of a Tweet out-trumps any retribution that can be wrought by the electorate. Let’s make liars out of them.

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