Trump ridiculously declares victory in the Census fight — even as his administration's plan goes down in flames

Trump ridiculously declares victory in the Census fight — even as his administration's plan goes down in flames
The Right Wing

It's completely unambiguous: President Donald Trump and his administration's plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census has been entirely demolished.

But instead of admitting defeat, in a press conference on Thursday, Trump pretended that he won. He said that he is ordering his administration to pursue a count of citizens and noncitizens via means other than a question on the decennial Census. This path, he said, would even be more accurate than asking the question on the 2020 Census.

He acted as though this was a victory for his administration, but in fact, this is the very argument that his opponents in the Census case have been making. The Census already asks about residents' citizenship in other surveys it conducts, and it can estimate the number of citizens nationwide through statistical methods, rather than by asking every individual person through the decennial Census. And it is widely acknowledged that these statistical methods are, in fact, more accurate than a direct count of citizens through the method the Trump administration had proposed would be.

In part because the administration's plan was so obviously not the best way to count citizens, critics had persuasively argued that the plan had another purpose: Trump officials and the GOP broadly seemed to hope that the citizenship question would discourage many respondents from responding to the Census. This would then likely result in a dramatic undercount of the population, most dramatically in regions with many Hispanic residents. Such an outcome could then potentially shift political power from Democratic regions to Republican areas, increasing their representation in government.

But the Supreme Court put a stop to this plan in June, and the White House has been flailing in an attempt to find a way around the ruling. Now it's decision is clear. It will pretend it actually won, even though its loss, in this case, is unequivocal.

It's just another week of the president trying to impose an alternative reality on the entire country. In the real world, he's a failure.

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