WASHINGTON — The U.S. Constitution calls for a count every 10 years of all persons (not citizens) living in the country. President Donald Trump wanted to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census and floated the idea of doing it by executive order even after the Supreme Court ruled against it.
In a remarkable appearance in the Rose Garden on Thursday, with the president standing next to him, Attorney General William Barr said the administration would not add the disputed question, that litigation to win Court approval would take too long, so the census will proceed unchanged.
He congratulated the president on making a good decision to order all the agencies of government to share their data on citizenship so the federal government can know who’s a citizen, and who isn’t. But the Social Security Administration and the Homeland Security Department already collect this information and it’s unclear how much additional monitoring will occur. It all sounds ominous, too much Big Brother,
Meanwhile, Republicans claim Democrats want open borders because they want to decriminalize illegal immigration, and this just as Trump is launching ICE a major roundup of illegals, perhaps including those who worked in his clubs. Surely, we must see the parallels with fascism. The illegals are here because we need them. They come to work; they cannot go on the dole. What is needed is a rational immigration policy and border control. We have neither and human roundups and census scare tactics are not the answer.
Tough ‘aliens’ talk
The tough talk about the “aliens among us” is going to discourage people from coming forward, and that is what Trump and the GOP want. Their goal is more power in the hands of a smaller and smaller group of people. In this context, we are witnessing what the British are calling an “undemocratic democracy” because the mere 160,000 members of the UK Conservative Party is about to select their next prime minister.
Our circumstances are different, but the trend is the same — a greater centralization of power. Currently, seven U.S. states have one representative, yet they each have two senators under the Constitution. Representatives are determined by population with roughly 650,000 people per House district. After the 2020 census, analysts predict 11 states will have one representative and two senators. That means 3 percent of the population will control 22 percent of the Senate, accentuating what has become a massive and ongoing non-demographic shift of power from urban to rural America.
The small states where every vote counts for so much more than a vote in California or Texas or New York, include the two Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Vermont, and Alaska — you get the idea.
Collectively, the 11 smallest states will soon have 33 electoral votes (one for each representative and senator) out of the 270 needed to win. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a safe haven mostly for the GOP. Any future change attempted in the Electoral College, in the Senate or with a constitutional amendment (it only takes 13 states to prevent ratification of an amendment), will go nowhere if it negatively impacts these powerful one-representative states.
Trump has consolidated his power, stopping only when the courts intervene. And the Republican-controlled Senate with their 53-seat majority under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has blocked Democrats at every turn.
— Twitter: @douglas_cohn