Calling Something Factual, Doesn’t Make It Magically Factual

Specif­i­cally, this is another time in which I call out Repub­li­cans for their lack of atten­tion to basic logic and under­stand­ing of facts. I received an email tonight from the RNC regard­ing Obama, Con­gress and the orga­ni­za­tion ACORN. In this email the GOP makes the claim that “It seems the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion has plans to rig the Cen­sus results.” The way this will occur:

Why is this impor­tant? The U.S. pop­u­la­tion has shifted in the last ten years. States like Illi­nois, Michi­gan, New York and Penn­syl­va­nia (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller pop­u­la­tions, and states like Ari­zona, Geor­gia and South Car­olina (all states that John McCain car­ried) have gained population.

The trend illus­trates that urban strong­holds, which favor Democ­rats, con­tinue to lose pop­u­la­tion to more decen­tral­ized areas in states more likely to lean Repub­li­can.

If the Democ­rats and their friends at ACORN have their way, the Cen­sus will only “esti­mate” state pop­u­la­tions and there­fore be sub­ject to polit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions. And surely their esti­mate will be far higher than the actual num­ber of peo­ple, and vot­ers, present.

So if to be believed by the RNC, Obama and the Democ­rats through ACORN will manip­u­late the state pop­u­la­tion esti­mates to swing in favor of Democ­rats as opposed to what the esti­mate should actu­ally look like.

Let’s start with a few things, first off the email never lists any facts, never links to any hard evi­dence demon­strat­ing any man­ner of truth in the email. The only links are to unsub­scribe, to the main GOP site and to donate to “help the Repub­li­can Party’s effort to spread the word about the Obama Democ­rats’ mis­use of power and plans to end free and fair elec­tions”. Also note this is the sort of clas­si­cal con­spir­acy style for­mat­ting, this evil orga­ni­za­tion is doing some­thing behind your back and we aren’t able to get our mes­sage out, but you can help us expose the truth.

The funny thing about the whole thing is that the Cen­sus Buera’s own esti­mates don’t prove the cen­tral point of the email, which is “States like Illi­nois, Michi­gan, New York and Penn­syl­va­nia (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller pop­u­la­tions, and states like Ari­zona, Geor­gia and South Car­olina (all states that John McCain car­ried) have gained population.”

Specif­i­cally look­ing at the 2008 Cen­sus Bureau esti­mates found here: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-T1-R&-ds_name=PEP_2008_EST&-format=US-40S

Let’s take a look at each state listed by the GOP in the email, com­par­ing the 2000 Cen­sus results with the 2006 and 2008 esti­mates, shall we.

State 2000 Cen­sus Results 2006 Esti­mate 2008 Esti­mate
Illi­nois 12,419,293 12,759,673 12,901,563
Michi­gan 9,938,492 10,083,878 10,003,422
New York 18,976,816 19,367,028 19,490,297
Penn­syl­va­nia 12,281,052 12,388,055 12,448,279
Ari­zona 5,130,607 6,178,251 6,500,180
Geor­gia 8,186,812 9,318,715 9,685,744
South Car­olina 4,011,809 4,324,799 4,479,800

Notice every sin­gle state listed in the email is gain­ing pop­u­la­tion from 2000 to 2008, and the only state los­ing pop­u­la­tion from 2006 to 2008 is Michi­gan, which given the state of the econ­omy there, I’m not entirely surprised.

Now I’m not entirely sure what the GOP is try­ing to argue at this point, because at this point the argu­ment just really col­lapses amongst itself. They could be talk­ing about per­cent­age change, but the talk about the pop­u­la­tion not a per­cent­age fall or even that the rate of the states gain­ing pop­u­la­tion is going up.

Or I guess the Repub­li­cans could claim that the esti­mate itself is wrong, and they have no proof for it, because the Cen­sus Bureau has been manip­u­lat­ing num­bers for years in favor of Democrats?

The next ques­tion for me becomes, how does a com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tion influ­ence the pop­u­la­tion cen­sus, that I’m not sure, since the GOP doesn’t link to any arti­cle talk­ing about it or go into specifics, also how do you manip­u­late the cen­sus. Per­son­ally, I thought the cen­sus was per­formed by Cen­sus employ­ees, maybe the GOP is think­ing that the Cen­sus with out­source the col­lec­tion of data to ACORN?

That makes some sense though it still seems silly to blame an orga­ni­za­tion whose actions are very much blown out of por­pi­tion: “Both claims are breath­tak­ingly inac­cu­rate. There’s a huge dif­fer­ence between voter fraud and voter reg­is­tra­tion fraud. And while ACORN, which hires part-time, $8-an-hour can­vassers to go door-to-door and reg­is­ter peo­ple to vote, has had wide­spread prob­lems with phony reg­is­tra­tions invented by employ­ees who don’t want to work, the prob­lem has never been that it sent peo­ple to the polls using bogus iden­ti­ties or to vote in any other fraud­u­lent manner.”

This winds up being my fun­da­men­tal prob­lem with polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions, the media, and politi­cians, left, right and cen­ter. Wild accu­sa­tions, con­spir­acy like talk with no real defin­i­tive proof or even an under­stand­ing of basic logic.

I will say though when MoveOn.org and some other orga­ni­za­tions send out emails to pres­sure for some­thing, they link to real authen­tic news arti­cles to make a case for them­selves. It helps so much it isn’t even funny. It’s almost sad to say that it is refresh­ing to get their emails which actu­ally make a case for their point even if I dis­agree with them.

Also GOP, why do you always repeat your­self in the PS part of the email, it’s annoy­ing and stu­pid. Learn from the Democ­rats and say some­thing dif­fer­ent. Seri­ously, I get really bored know­ing that you are going to ask me for money in exactly the same way you did earlier.

Web Developer, constant student, backpacker and hater of the Oxford comma.

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