Will The Census Undercount Hurt Arizona Republicans?

Jim SharpeSeptember 9, 2021
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Is it just me, or were the U.S. Census Bureau folks the only people who didn’t hear about the last decade’s human stampede into Arizona?

When the Census undercounted Arizona, it left our state’s Independent Redistricting Commission with fewer options to draw fair congressional districts when it submits its initial map later this year. Worst of all: Not gaining a 10th seat in the House of Representatives means America’s third-youngest state will have to wait a while longer to sit at the grown-up table of U.S. political influence.

Before the Census hosed us, every expert I talked to believed we’d get another congressional district. Afterward, they told me Arizona Republicans will get hosed most by the numbers. Ironically, they might’ve hosed themselves… which actually isn’t so strange these days.

The Arizona GOP’s current MO seems to be plastic surgery that involves removing its nose to spite its face – with the face of their party continuing to be one with a sprayed-on tan. The “Arizona Audit” is one example of Republicans eating their own. Losing out on another seat in Congress may be another. It was Trump, after all, who bullied the Census to wrap things up despite pandemic difficulties, which may have led to Arizona being credited with only 7,158,923 residents instead of the more than 7.4 million that the Census Bureau estimated just months prior.

That may have kept Arizona from joining the Big Dog Club of states with 10 or more representatives in Congress. I don’t know about you, but I think the world’s askew when New Jersey has more political clout than Arizona

Despite all the talk about Arizona “going blue,” the plurality of voters in Arizona are still registered Republicans – so a new House seat was almost a shoo-in to be districted in favor of the GOP and likely would’ve resulted in an even split (instead of the 5-4 Dem advantage now).

The Census’ job is to count people within our borders – whether they’re within our borders legally or not – and they all count toward congressional representation. But Trump’s insistence that Census takers ask people if they’re citizens led thousands to not answer the door. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled the citizenship question unconstitutional, but even in the days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, Trump was still pushing the Census to release undocumented immigrant numbers. No doubt, so he could claim they all voted for Biden – which would’ve fed his ego while doing squat for Republican power in Arizona.

Through my years of working for and covering politicians, I’ve rarely met one that would sacrifice themselves for much of anything – or anybody.

Rarer is something we’re witnessing in Arizona now: a party willing to sacrifice itself on the altar of a failed politician.


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