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Opinion Trump administration confused as to why an inaccurate census is a ‘bad thing’

You hear that? Me neither. It is the sound of an entirely uninhabited New York 15th Congressional District. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether to include a question about citizenship status in the 2020 Census. Census experts have suggested that adding the question could lead to a miscount of as many as 6.5 million people, which two lower-court judges argued would result in such an inaccurate count that the census would fail to perform its constitutionally mandated function of enumerating the population. But the good news is that it looks as though the Supreme Court might approve the addition of this question anyway!

For too long, we have been trammeled and burdened by accurate numbers. For too long, we have been forced to give more resources to California than to North Dakota on the absurd grounds that, factually, more people reside in the one than in the other. Well, if the court finds — as they sounded pretty inclined to do! — that Wilbur “King of Bankruptcy, Prince of Not Filling Out Financial Disclosure Forms With Perfect Accuracy” Ross is within his rights to ask for less accurate data, then soon, we will no longer be bound by such pedestrian concerns. There can be as many or as few people in a state as we would like! This will make 2020 much more interesting.

Some days, there will be no one in Florida at all. On other days, there will be three Floridas. Sometimes there will be a whole gaggle of people driving through Arizona with trunks full of women covered in duct tape, like in “Sicario,” and on other days they will disappear as if they never really existed. Puerto Rico may turn out to contain no people worth sending federal aid to at all. It will vary by the time, the weather and whether Fox News remembered to mention Rhode Island that morning. In any case, the country will never not be “full.”

We can embrace this better system, as Donald Trump already has. For many years, Donald Trump used to decide his personal net worth depending on how he felt on any given day. Then, if anyone asked questions, he sued them or hastily ate whatever sheets with numbers on them happened to be nearby. This seems like a much better system for determining numerical values of things, and his pilot program of announcing that the 2016 popular vote was off, maybe by millions, was an unmitigated success. His inauguration will never be under-attended again!

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The census is key to apportioning everything from federal aid dollars to electoral votes, which is just another reason it should not be so strictly bound to adhere to facts. Currently, it forces you to admit that people live in regions that vote Democratic, and that when their homes catch fire, you are supposed to send aid and things, a useless gesture for people who do not rate your presidential performance very highly. If only the census had moved in this direction sooner, so that Donald Trump could point to the fact that no one whosoever was in California and thus no one could have been harmed by wildfire or ever cast a general election vote, for that matter.

Once we have gotten rid of facts about the population, we can start chipping away at facts about the environment. Not having to handle a warming planet will free up the government to do important things such as infrastructure (in places where it has decided people live, for instance, Mar-a-Lago), witch hunting, and lecturing local and foreign officials about how they are handling disasters wrong. Why fritter away the best years of your life trying to deal with climate change — an exhausting ordeal that may or may not work — when instead you can just convene a panel to declare that it is “probably not a thing”?

That would be much easier. Once data is gone, everything will be. Everyone will get enough resources, and all the votes that should count will count. It will be much easier than actually counting people accurately. It is a wonder we have not been doing this for years. This census-free America will be a lovely place to live, if Donald Trump decides you exist.

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