“You have undocumented people who are nervous to come forward. I do believe the federal government had a chilling effect,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told reporters Tuesday.
To quickly recap, five states gained one House seat each: Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Texas gained two seats. The seven states that lost one House seat each were California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York:
— ABC7 Sarasota (@mysuncoast) April 27, 2021
Blue states losing seats was a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow, especially for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after reports said his state lost a seat because it was 89 votes short of keeping its House representation at 27.
Cuomo responded that he wanted to explore “legal options.” He cited the pandemic, problems with the postal service last year, and former President Trump, who Cuomo claimed without evidence caused “undocumented people” to be too “nervous to come forward” and fill out the census:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants state Attorney General Letitia James to “review all legal options available” regarding news that New York will lose one seat in the House of Representatives, following reports that the state was just 89 people short of holding steady.
“Look, you had a lot going on. You had people who were nervous to come forward, right? You have undocumented people who are nervous to come forward. I do believe the federal government had a chilling effect,” he told reporters.
Cuomo released a statement later in the afternoon citing the count was low due to “unprecedented challenges” over the last year, including “the pandemic’s effect on the mail system to the Trump Administration’s xenophobic, flagrant, and illegal efforts to hurt blue states by discouraging non-citizens and people of color from being counted.”
Gov. Cuomo wasn’t the only Democrat who pivoted to blaming the Trump administration over census counts. Eric Holder, who was President Obama’s attorney general and who now chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, told the Washington Post that he “wondered” if “undercounts” in Hispanic communities may have been a big factor in blue states losing seats:
Former attorney general Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, raised the possibility that the lower-than-expected counts in Florida, Arizona and Texas could be due to an undercount of Hispanics resulting from the Trump administration’s “shameful” handling of the decennial census, including its attempts to include a citizenship question. “I just wonder if it had the impact of suppressing the count,” Holder said.
Not surprisingly, the media jumped on the “Democrats are getting screwed!” bandwagon. Here’s CNN “Prime Time” host Chris Cuomo shilling for his brother as per the norm, suggesting to fellow CNN host Michael Smerconish that red states did not deserve to gain seats because Democrats supposedly represent more people or something:
CUOMO: But as you’ve explained so brilliantly here and on your radio show and your TV show, the representation in Congress does not reflect the population of this country. That you have 50-50 in the Senate and your skinny margin in the House, but Republicans represent a fraction of the people that the Democrats do, so the national polls are relevant. Do they want the George Floyd act if they want the base?
The disappointment over blue states losing House seats was very real among the major networks, with Good Morning America also floating Democrat conspiracy theories about the Trump administration allegedly “scaring off” Hispanics from participating in the census:
— Kyle Drennen (@kjdrennen) April 27, 2021
Surprisingly enough, the Washington Post was one of the few news outlets to point out that concerns of Hispanic voters being “undercounted” were overblown:
“Nothing looked terribly outside of expectations or historical patterns,” said Chris Dick, founder of DA Advisors, an analytics consulting company, and former Census Bureau statistician and branch chief. Noting that the Arizona data in 2010 were also lower than estimates, he said, “I think we have to be careful. I don’t think we have enough information to say the census was flawed, but I don’t think we have enough information to say the census was a success.”
Not all states with a high percentage of Hispanics had an undercount, and many states that were undercounted have relatively small Hispanic populations. For instance, while Texas and Florida, which are 39 percent and 26 percent Hispanic, respectively, had undercounts, New Mexico, which is nearly half Hispanic, did not. Nor did California, which is 39 percent Hispanic, or New York, which is 19 percent Hispanic.
Census counts for the majority of states came within 1 percent of what was projected. But in Arizona and the District, the final count was 3 percent less than projected. On the other end, New York and New Jersey counts came in more than 4 percent higher than what was estimated.
During Tuesday’s press briefing, even White House press secretary Jen Psaki sought to tamp down on Democrat fears that Hispanics were undercounted:
The media are pressing the concept of undercounting on the Census, but shockingly Jen Psaki said the count was statutorily accurate. pic.twitter.com/fYvsz6CpTb
— MRCTV (@mrctv) April 27, 2021
Also, as Real Clear Politics senior elections analyst Sean Trende pointed out, the gains and losses among the states that were impacted were less than what was expected:
New York was on the cusp of losing two seats, while Texas and Florida were in a position to pick up three and two, respectively. Given the legislatures that control redistricting in these states, it seemingly offered substantial opportunities for Republicans to redraw the lines in ways that boosted their chances in the House significantly.
Instead, the reapportionment numbers announced by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday were something of a wash. Only seven states lost seats while six gained seats.
Historically speaking, Democrats tend to be sore losers when things don’t go their way legislatively, at the ballot box, and in the courts, so expect the squawking from the usual corners over the census numbers to continue until the next round of data is released, presumably later this year.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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