Trump’s Plan to Rig the Census, Explained

This video lays out the incredibly high stakes for the 2020 census.

Budget cuts. Major cybersecurity risks. No permanent leadership. And now a question about US citizenship that could massively depress responses from immigrants. The 2020 census is facing a perfect storm of problems.

The last census, in 2010, failed to count 1.5 million people of color, while overcounting white Americans. That undercount of minorities and immigrants could get much worse under President Donald Trump and shift economic and political power to whiter and more Republican areas.

The addition of the citizenship question on Monday night sparked an immediately outcry from Democratic state officials and civil rights groups. California became the first state to sue the Trump administration over the question, and at least 12 states have pledged to follow suit. The NAACP also filed suit on Wednesday.

The stakes for democracy could not be higher. As I explain in this video, “If Republicans rig the census, there are no do-overs.” Give it a watch, and then read my big feature story on the census, “Hidden Figures: How Donald Trump Is Rigging the Census,” which will appear in the next issue of the magazine.

Video produced by Mark Helenowski and James West

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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