California Democrats are worried that they will not only not gain Congressional seats, but that they may actually lose one after the 2020 U.S. Census count is completed — which would be the first time in the state’s 169-year history.
Given that Texas and Florida could pick up two seats while states such as New York and Illinois will likely lose seats, this suggests an ongoing trend of major Democratic stronghold states losing Congressional representation and delegates in the presidential races — largely because their residents are fleeing to other states.
This same dynamic is true in California, where there is a net migration loss to other states, but those are more than replaced by immigrants. So Democrats are wanting to make sure all those immigrants are counted.
California has budgeted and is spending $100 million in 2018-19 fiscal year to ensure every person, including legal and illegal immigrants, are counted during the Census. And they have budgeted another $54 million for 2019-2020 to continue the effort. This compares to $2.3 million the state spent in 2010 in inflation adjusted dollars.
All of the states combined are planning to spend about $400 million on the Census count, meaning that nearly 40 percent of all public spending on the Census nationwide is being spent just in California. The second highest state is Illinois at $84 million, meaning 60 percent of states’ spending on the Census is in just two states — arguably two of the biggest spending, worst-run states in the union, which explains the importance they are placing on getting federal money.
Of course the Census count is critical for determining the number of Congressional members and presidential delegates, but it is also used for a large array of federal funds at the state and local levels. Because the Census is counting more than total numbers, it also breaks down the percentages of many sub-groups that may qualify for more federal money.
So in a sense, in addition to the political power, California and some other states are spending state taxpayers’ money in hopes of getting more money from other states through federal coffers. About 300 programs use census data to distribute more than $800 billion annually, according to a 2018 report by the Institute of Public Policy at George Washington University. These include such heavyweights as Medicaid, food stamps, highway construction and school lunches.
By contrast, Republican-controlled states such as Texas and Florida either openly support or do not oppose the citizenship question, and they are planning very little in ways of organized outreach to get more counts, generally seeing that as the job of the feds.
Florida is the third largest state in the country and the fastest-growing large state, and it has not even set up a committee and plans not to spend a dime. Of course, it is also a low-tax, low-expenditure state and the most common destination for those fleeing New York and Illinois. A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State told Gatehouse Media in an email response to questions: “This falls outside of the Florida Department of State’s purview.”
This is all heavily politicized because Democrats oppose the Trump administration’s plan to included a citizenship question on the 2020 census — something done for about three-quarters of our nation’s existence, but not since 1950. That has energized Democratic-dominated California because they fear that the citizenship question might dissuade immigrants – legal and illegal – from answering the census.
California is particularly vulnerable on this count and others largely because of the state’s policies.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
“One statistic explains why so many California civic and nonprofit advocacy groups are worried about next year’s U.S. census: 72% of the state’s population belongs to one of the groups historically undercounted.
Renters are notoriously hard to count, especially in dwellings with non-family members who don’t know whether they should mention everyone who lives there. If the apartment has more people than a landlord allows, they may refuse to answer any questions.”
Yes, California has large numbers of legal and illegal immigrants and, due to onerous private property and zoning laws, has created a massive affordability issue, leading many Californians to double and triple up on renting.
The media, naturally enough, is onboard with promoting the Democratic position by being particularly believing of government — including the Trump government — when it suits the agenda.
From the LA Times: “Immigrants are especially leery, with a widespread (and false) assumption that census information will be shared with other government officials.”
Because they, too, want to maximize count as partisans, reporters and/or editors at the Times state as a fact that the Census information will not be shared with other government officials. Given what we have seen from government officials in the past several years, that seems wildly optimistic. The only thing that can be said factually is that the Census Bureau is not supposed to share the information. But if it were stated that way, illegal immigrants would less likely to participate and so not be counted.
The Census count could prove to be yet another major battle in the states, in Washington, D.C. and in the courts.
(Next up in Census Part II: Are Democrats setting up a challenge to the 2020 Census?)
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.