President Donald Trump has spent a great deal of his time lately winding himself up with conspiracy theories about his political opponents, even as the Coronavirus crisis has raged and claimed the lives of over 4,100 Americans and counting. Recently, he even came up with the completely baseless idea that medical personnel are hoarding crucial supplies like masks. Amidst the noise, former President Barack Obama took to Twitter with a message admonishing his followers to fill out their Census forms, displaying the kind of leadership that one would likely expect from the actual sitting U.S. president during a time of crisis.
Instead, Trump keeps flailing. Meanwhile, Obama tweeted:
‘It’s Census Day and we all have a crucial role to play. Filling out the 2020 Census determines what the next decade will look like for your community: your roads, health care, schools, representation and more. Takes a few minutes by mail, phone or online. my2020census.gov’
It's Census Day and we all have a crucial role to play. Filling out the 2020 Census determines what the next decade will look like for your community: your roads, health care, schools, representation and more. Takes a few minutes by mail, phone or online. https://t.co/KzxFJKavmM
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 1, 2020
The advocacy echoes other work from the Obamas, like former First Lady Michelle’s “When We All Vote” initiative, which seeks to increase voter participation. As Obama indicates, census results weigh on a lot of important political developments. They’re used for, among other things, deciding where Congressional district lines run and deciding where to send investment funds from the government. If the population of an area decreases, they’ll likely get less funds and less individual representatives, and vice versa.
Republicans have actually attempted to upend the census already. Prior to the development of the forms for this latest run of the census, the Trump administration attempted to include a question asking for respondents’ citizenship status. The question was arbitrary, and the U.S. Supreme Court blocked its inclusion. The inherent intimidation factor of the question could have driven down census responses in marginalized immigrant communities — and thereby driven down their political representation and financial support as well.
Check out Twitter’s response to Obama below…