Reaping what one sows on the census, cont’d

REAPING WHAT ONE SOWS ON THE CENSUS, CONT’D…. We talked last week about the efforts of prominent right-wing voices, who’ve argued that the U.S. census is not to be trusted. From strange members of Congress (Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul) to strange media personalities (Glenn Beck and Neal Boortz), there’s been an ongoing effort to make conservatives fear the constitutionally-mandated process.

To the consternation of Republicans who know better, the anti-census effort may be having an effect. The party is starting to get more actively concerned about the consequences of right-wing paranoia related to the census spreading.

Some Republicans are worried that an anti-government surge among conservatives will lead to lower participation in the U.S. census, which they fear could reduce the number of Republican seats in Congress and state legislatures.

The census, which is currently being collated and is gathered every ten years, dictates the distribution of federal funding, how many House members each state gets and how congressional and legislative districts are drawn within states. […]

The unstated concern [among Republican leaders]: An under-representation of conservatives could mean fewer Republicans in Congress and state legislatures for the next 10 years.

How worried are Republicans? This worried.

Author and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove will appear in a new public service announcement from the U.S. Census Bureau designed to convince people to mail back their 2010 census forms by the end of the month.

In an e-mail, Rove said he agreed to participate, “Because the Census settles apportionment of Congress and the current distrust of Washington should not discourage people from being counted.”

His participation and subsequent comments come as some Republicans worry that anti-government sentiment will lead to lower census participation rates in conservative areas of the country, resulting in fewer Republican seats in Congress and state legislatures.

ThinkProgress has a good item with background on this, including Rove’s interest in the census: “The Bush administration did all it could to politicize the Census and ensure that it fully represented Republican areas. In 2001, the Commerce Department, led by former 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign chairman Donald Evans, ‘rescinded a regulation issued in October by the Clinton administration that had sought to insulate from political pressure any decision on whether to adjust census figures.'”