Republicans Will Lose Many Seats in Congress Due to Right-Wing Paranoia About the Census

Republicans will lose many seats in Congress due to right-wing paranoia about the census and refusal to fill out Census forms, gloats the liberal web site Daily Kos. The number of congressional districts a state gets is based on how many of its citizens return completed Census forms.  Because voters in conservative states are completing and returning Census forms at lower rates than voters in liberal states, conservative states will lose many seats in the House of Representatives that they would otherwise gain due to increases in their population.

Republican-leaning “Red States” will also lose out on billions of dollars in federal funds, which are apportioned based largely on population.

Unlike many things the federal government does, the Census is expressly authorized by the explicit language of the Constitution.  (As a believer in free markets, limited government, and the Constitution, I have criticized some of the legislation backed by the Obama administration as being unconstitutional and beyond Congress’s enumerated powers.  But the Census and the questions it asks are perfectly constitutional, even though some of those questions may seem unnecessary.)

A few white Census respondents are stupidly listing their race as “human” or “some other race” rather than white.  Many commenters at the conservative website Free Republic say they will just refuse to report their race on their Census forms, viewing it as irrelevant.

This inaccurate reporting of racial information may unintentionally prolong racial set-aside programs that are obsolete and no longer necessary.  By making the white percentage of the population appear smaller than it in fact is, such responses can make it easier for the federal government to get away with racial quotas, which are based on so-called disparity studies, which measure the supposed gap between racial percentages in the population and racial percentages in awards of government contracts.  Under Supreme Court rulings like the 1987 Paradise decision, quotas are supposed to be used only as a “last resort” and for no longer than absolutely necessary.  But faulty Census data can give them a new lease on life, even when they serve no valid purpose, and enforce, rather than remedy, discrimination.