Assault on the Census

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WASHINGTON: Bill Clinton hasn't done much to help his party lately, but he's trying. In an effort to get more Democrats counted in time for the 2000 elections, the administration will appeal to the Supreme Court a decision banning statistical sampling, a process that would account for the mostly low-income blacks and Hispanics -- traditionally Democratic voters -- who elude their friendly census-taker each decade.

Newt Gingrich, naturally, lauded the court's decision as "a tremendous court victory." But the great uncounted can be an inscrutable bunch. Take motor-voter laws, which make registering to vote easier and which Republicans opposed on the tenet that the laziest voters were all Democrats. "Those laws have actually helped the GOP, for reasons that demographers still don't understand," says TIME congressional correspondent Jay Carney. "You never know how it will come out." Certainly Clinton hasn't had much luck lately with the high court, and this time, as before, the law seems to be against him. But if he wins, and it backfires, the Democrats'll hang him for sure.