GOP ‘census’ forms could be misleading
Since 2000, the Republican Party has sent out mock-census forms to fundraise for GOP candidates — but this year, these mailings may get confused with real Census forms.
The mailer, which arrives in an envelope marked “DO NOT DESTROY, OFFICIAL DOCUMENT” and labeled with a “tracking code,” contains 36 questions on political issues and a request for a donation.
The questionnaire includes items such as “Do you think the record trillion dollar federal deficit the Democrats are creating with their out-of-control spending is going to have disastrous consequences for our nation?” and “Do you believe the Obama Administration is right in dramatically scaling back our nation’s military?”
A “knowledgeable Republican operative” explained the mailing’s benefits to Politico’s Ben Smith:
Of course duping people is the point…that’s one of the reasons why it works so well. The others: low per piece cost — they drop hundreds of thousands of pieces at a time, and will likely mail millions this year. And incredible targeting.
But citizens and politicians alike are objecting to the content. Organizing for America Tennessee director Justin Wilkins told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the mailings are “disappointing” and “vilifying, fearmongering rhetoric,” and conservative writer Ira Stoll raised objections about multiple aspects of the ‘census’ forms:
It’s problematic for three reasons. First, it uses the word “census” repeatedly to convey the false impression that it is a government document. “DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT,” the envelope says. Inside, the letterhead says “2010 Congressional District Census” and includes a survey with faux-official language like “Census Tracking Code” and “Census Certification and Reply” and “Census Document.” The text of the letter includes a sentence that says “And when you send back your completed Census, I urge you to also demonstrate your commitment to the Republican Party by including a generous donation of $25, $50, $100, $250 — or even $500.” All this could easily dupe an unsuspecting target into thinking, incorrectly, that it was part of the real 2010 government census.