Newly surfaced documents reveal that a now-dead senior Republican strategist who specialized in gerrymandering was secretly behind the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The New York Times broke the story last week in an article that called Thomas Hofeller the “Michelangelo of gerrymandering.” When Hofeller died last August, he left behind a computer hard drive full of his notes and records. Hofeller’s estranged daughter found among the documents a 2015 study that said adding the citizenship question to the census “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites” and “would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats.” Census officials estimate 6.5 million people will not respond to the census if the citizenship question is added. This undercount could affect everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. We get an update from Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, whose new piece is “Architect of GOP Gerrymandering Was Behind Trump’s Census Citizenship Question.”
Ari Bermansenior writer at Mother Jones, reporting fellow at the Type Media Center and author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.