President Donald Trump's pick for deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau caused a stir recently - for the partisan nature of the appointment and the nominee's anti-democracy views, among other reasons. But tapping Thomas Brunell for the job is just one part of a GOP plan to upend consensus norms and rig the electoral system in their favor.
Republicans are hoping to insert a question on the form asking people about their immigration status, which has never been done before — and which could make people in immigrant communities less likely to fill out the form, given the administration’s broader crackdown on immigrants. That in turn could under-count those communities, which would benefit Republicans when district lines get redrawn in 2021.
Given his history, Brunell seems likely to follow the Republican plan, and because Trump has not filled the director position, he will be the highest-ranking permanent official at the agency:
Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.”