This article appeared in the July 12, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Why citizenship data matters so much to Republicans

Eric Gay/AP
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer during a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum, Feb. 11, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The state Republican Party is warning voters that the GOP could be losing its grip on Texas.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Welcome to the Monitor Daily. Today we’re covering shifts in the U.S.-Iran confrontation, perceptions of sexual abuse allegations against the wealthy, what it’s like on-scene at the southern border, the culture and history of moon-related movies, and strange food at the Calgary Stampede rodeo.

But first, could President Trump lose Texas in 2020?  The state Republican Party is warning he could. It issued a fundraising email on Wednesday naming Texas “the most important swing state” in the next presidential election, Newsweek reports. If GOP voters don’t show up, the email said, Mr. Trump might lose the White House.

Part of this is hyperbole meant to open wallets. But it also reflects real concern. Democrat Beto O’Rourke nearly unseated GOP Sen. Ted Cruz last November. The state’s Hispanic population – and increasing numbers of educated whites – theoretically could turn Texas blue within a few years.

That brings us to the citizenship question and the census.

Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 survey.

But Mr. Trump has ordered the government to glean that data from other records. And the underlying goal remains: eliminate noncitizens from the data used to draw political boundaries.

Republicans would benefit if the Supreme Court allows this switch. Texas is a great example why. Boundaries based on citizenship would enlarge the power of red rural areas. And Texas Republicans could gain two members of Congress.

Texas’ slide to the left could be slowed, or blocked.

Citizen-only districts probably won’t happen by 2020. But it’s an example of what’s at stake in battles over gerrymandering, voter ID, and other election issues. The structure of voting can determine whose voices count.

This article appeared in the July 12, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 07/12 edition
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