Politics & Government

Republican Party uses ‘census’ to get input on Trump’s performance - and ask for money

The Republican National Committee sent out its “2019 Congressional District Census” over the weekend, asking respondents to weigh in on issues such as President Donald Trump’s performance or the Green New Deal while also seeking donations.

The packet opens with a letter from RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who said Trump requested a survey of every congressional district in the country. The letter says this is the largest such survey the party has ever taken and is part of a “massive grassroots effort all across America.”

A similar survey made its way through Valley cities and across the country ahead of the 2018 midterm election, in which the Republicans lost control of the House but strengthened their hold of the Senate.

The recent letter, received by a no-party preference voter from Clovis, says the survey “is one of the select few being mailed into California’s 22nd Congressional District,” represented by Rep. Devin Nunes. It notes the responses will be used to build data models that target voters in Clovis.

The survey itself covers a variety of broad political ground, from domestic issues to foreign policy. It attacks the news media and “Liberal Democrats,” including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Some of the questions are straightforward, such as “do you plan on supporting Trump in the 2020 presidential election?” with the options “yes,” “no” or “unsure.”

Others are weighted toward Republican stances on various issues, such as health care. “Do you believe ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced or simply fixed?” with options “yes,” “no,” or “no opinion.” There is no option for if the respondent believes the Affordable Care Act does not need fixing, repealed or replaced.

Although some questions allow respondents to cast doubt on Trump’s positions and performance, the survey ends with a call for donations to help in his re-election. It also asks the respondent for a $15 donation “to help pay for the cost of processing my census document.”

In the letter, McDaniel asks for the survey to be returned by May 13.

“We must begin funding the powerful grassroots operation needed for the presidential election and be prepared to work for every vote in races all across the country – including contests in Clovis,” she says. “If the Democrats win this battle, it will prove disastrous for America’s future.”

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Rory Appleton is a fourth-generation Fresnan who covers politics for his hometown newspaper. A Fresno State graduate, he has won six first-place California News Publishers Association awards and a McClatchy President’s Award for his reporting and column writing over the last two years.