SCOTUS Census citizenship vote

It SHOULD have been 9-0

citizenship questionLast week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to refuse to approve the citizenship question on the 2020 census. More accurately, SCOTUS referred the case back to a lower court. I’m glad for the outcome, but I thought the dissent was disingenuous.

“‘For the first time ever, the court invalidates an agency action solely because it questions the sincerity of the agency’s otherwise adequate rationale,’ said Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented separately.”

Adequate rationale? Well, no.

“On May 30, the plaintiffs [revealed that a] central portion of the Justice Department’s rationale for the question was apparently written by Thomas Hofeller, the GOP’s longtime gerrymandering mastermind. In a 2015 study, Hofeller wrote that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census would be ‘advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites’ and “a disadvantage to the Democrats.’

“He also explained how Republicans could justify inserting a citizenship question by claiming, falsely, that it would aid enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Multiple passages in Hofeller’s study appeared verbatim in the 2017 Justice Department letter that provided a legal rationale for the question’s addition.”

While the “Justice Department responded with indignant denial,” the nefarious conspiratorial linkage is quite clear, in far more detail than I can get into here. If the ruling had gone the other way, it could have dealt a grave blow to democracy.

Even those who voted correctly misrepresented the ‘pedigree’ of the citizenship question. “Never in the 230-year history of the census has the complete-count questionnaire (or its equivalent) asked for the citizenship status of everyone in the country.”

Several companies had filed a brief to the Supreme Court arguing that “The inaccuracy resulting from the Citizenship Question will harm businesses, because Census data can play a role in many decisions by large and small businesses alike.”

This is not to say the decennial Census process is now out of the woods. A report by the Urban Institute notes that “new ways of conducting the U.S. census… have not been thoroughly tested and could pose another risk to the count’s accuracy. These methods include allowing all households to complete an online form…

“The study found that new operational changes being implemented in 2020 like ‘internet self-response’… were ‘insufficiently tested in a decennial census environment’ and that “best evidence suggests they will disproportionately improve the count of those who are already easiest to count, leaving the hard-to-count population a lingering challenge.'”

The average person might think the Census folk only work on the Census in the immediate run up to the event, but not so. Particularly in the 60 months before the decennial, the Bureau is testing questions and methodologies.

“Uncertainty in funding in recent years” – blame Congress and the White House for that – “has led the Census Bureau to cancel field tests for the 2020 census, including test runs designed for rural and Spanish-speaking areas. This could still lead to the worst undercount of black and Latinx people in 30 years.

Of course, the folks at Census are aware that not everyone is online, and will offer alternatives, including mail, phone, and when necessary, in-person visits, though each of those attempts come as an added expense.

An inaccurate count affects redistricting for a decade and affect other data sources. It also guides community funding decisions. Learn more about Census data at the Census Academy.

Who Do I Side With 2020 Presidential quiz

Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend Indiana, Mike Pence’s state. I had barely heard of him, yet he’s up at the top of my leader board. Who the heck is he?

I-Side-With-Feb-2019-There is a political quiz that Arthur took called Who Do I Side With? It contains questions on a wealth of issues from national security to education and health care.

If YOU should decide to fill it out, consider clicking on the “other stances” each time in order to get more nuanced responses. I filled this out in June 2016, and – SURPRISE – Bernie Sanders was my pick, with 92%, followed by Hillary Clinton at 68% and Jeb Bush at 28%.

Note that the guy who ultimately won the election isn’t even on the matrix, as he had just announced his candidacy that month.

You’ll see that virtually all the declared candidates on the Democratic side fare about the same with me. In other words, I REALLY don’t care yet.

That said:

Pete Buttigieg – he’s the mayor of South Bend Indiana, Mike Pence’s state. I had barely heard of him, yet he’s up at the top of my leader board. Who the heck is he? Arthur (oh, HIM again) needed to find out. Here’s an article from his hometown paper. There was a compelling interview on ABC News’ This Week earlier in February that I can’t access presently, but he was very impressive.

Beto O’Rourke – has a recently defeated candidate ever gotten more traction than he?

Kamala Harris – the US Senator from California sat down with an extended interview with Trevor Noah, and I found her impressive; you may not be able access it overseas. The noise about whether she’s black enough annoys me greatly.

Elizabeth Warren – she’s a loyal Democrat and Not a Socialist, But She Still Makes Wall Street Squirm

Bernie Sanders – Wall Street likes Biden, Booker, Harris, Gillibrand, and Beto. Guess who they hate? Sanders and Warren. All the rest is commentary.

BTW, the graphic that’s included Arthur kindly designed for me in Photoshop because I know where my skills lie, and it is assuredly NOT in graphic design. Gracias, amigo.

2020 election: I don’t care (yet)

Yeah, dissect the candidates on the issues, but not on personality quirks, which the incumbent will surely exploit. I’m not willing to say that someone ought not to run.

Election 2020Is it just me, or are the discussion about the Democratic candidates in the 2020 election feel 1) counterproductive and 2) WAY too early? Hey, if you’re excited by a candidate, then fine. Go work for her or him.

But too much of the rhetoric I’m seeing seems to tear down people before the race has even started. By this standard, NO ONE is qualified to be the nominee. One can write off everyone who’s running, or thinking about it, as too old, too shrill, too corporate, too Harold Stassen, throws things, is wrong on one issue or the other. Trump wins in 2020 against a fractured Democratic party.

Yeah, dissect the candidates on the issues, but not on personality quirks, which the incumbent will surely exploit. I’m not willing to say that someone ought not to run. The announced candidates, shockingly, are imperfect, but are infinitely better than the current occupant of the White House. I’m unconcerned about Starbucks’ Howard Schultz launching a third-party candidacy; early signs suggest he won’t last.

As Mark Evanier noted last month: “The Democratic National Convention to select their next presidential nominee will take place July 13-16, 2020. Someone might have a lock on it before then but maybe not too far before then. In any case, 7/13/20 is 1 year, 5 months… from now. I do not have to start thinking about whether I want it to be Bernie or Beto or Elizabeth or Kamala or any of the 7,244 others who will toss their chapeaus into the ring or be seriously mentioned.”

It's Too EarlyI’m an old poli sci major, but right this moment, I can’t be too concerned. “I can wait to see who else becomes a possibility and what all the contenders have to say, even about issues that do not yet exist. I can wait until the debates and — most of all — the inability to raise money whittles the field down to a dozen or so.” Yeah, maybe there will be 23 or 37 people in the first half of 2017, but that won’t be the case six months from now.

When I say “I don’t care yet” about the 2020 election, that’s not 100% accurate. I follow the announcements and the reaction to the same from the left and right. It’s that I’m not all that interested in talking about it yet. Give me until September 2019 when the landscape becomes clearer.

SATIRE: Dukakis Announces 2020 Bid: “Everyone Else Is”

On a related matter, a good friend floated the suggestion that perhaps Presidential and Vice-Presidential contenders need to run as a team right from the declaration of intent, rather than AFTER the selection of the Presidential candidate. I oppose this, in part because if one goes down in a scandal, real or imagined, it taints them both. Imagine if John Edwards had agreed to partner with Barack Obama in 2008. Edwards’ behavior would have sunk them both.