Former failed President Donald Trump could have had one enormous feather in his cap. It was an easy one. A slam dunk.
And strangely with Trump’s usual bloviating of how good he was and how bad Biden is, it wasn’t at all related to policy. No, it was the 2020 census. A task that’s massive in scale, yet fairly straight forward compared to most Washingtonian tasks.
And yet the Trump administration seemed to have mucked this one up too. Another on the long list of political failures for the worst administration in the country’s history.
According to a US Census Bureau report released yesterday, the 2020 census undercounted populations in 6 states and over counted populations in 8. These are not things that just happen during censuses. These are egregious errors that have large ramifications for the entire country.
How the census works
The national census is a once every 10 years occurrence. So the last 3 have happened in 2000, 2010, and 2020. The next census will be in 2030.
As population is counted, the census’ function to find the total population of the US within a certain margin of error. Usually this error is +/- 2-3%. But the census does a lot more than that as it also helps to determine the number of House representatives each state gets. It also decides the number of electoral votes a state gets as well as votes per state, federal funding, Medicaid programs, and helps to draw state districts and legislative maps. Truly, the census is extremely important.
How bad was the 2020 census?
The states with the worst undercounting rates were:
- Arkansas: 5.04%
- Florida: 3.48%
- Illinois: 1.97%
- Mississippi: 4.11%
- Tennessee: 4.78%
- Texas: 1.92%
The worst overcounter states were Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Massachusetts, and Ohio. You can read the full report here. Be warned, it is a long document, but worth the read to see exactly how the US population has shaped up and where Trump’s administration failed us.
Now you can chalk up a small amount of error to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s impact was not as large as one might think. The true hinderance was the Trump administration.
Per Rolling Stone, a civil servant release a memo on the census in 2020 outlining how the Trump administration got in the way. They reported:
That memo detailed meddling in issues like the privacy of census respondents and pressure to quickly wrap up the counting of populations. In addition, the Trump administration sought (unsuccessfully) to count unauthorized immigrants separately from the population, and it attempted to add a citizenship question to the census until a federal judge blocked it.
And what makes matters worse is that Trump himself attempted to stop the census entirely so that he could further manipulate the country to his own liking.
More Trump administration shortcomings
The 2020 census screw up is only scratching the surface as to how badly the Trump administration has ruined the country.
In October of 2021, a congressional report found that a $6 billion federal program established to provide fresh produce to families affected by the pandemic was mismanaged and used for political gain by the Trump administration.
According to a previous investigation and this report, the Farmers to Families Food Box program awarded contracts to companies with no relevant experience and frequently lacked necessary licenses.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that former President Donald Trump’s administration did not adequately screen contractor applications or identify red flags in bid proposals.
Another and more heartfelt program is the “Operation Santa” program where where individuals are given the opportunity to adopt a child’s letter to Santa and help spread holiday cheer and help make a child’s holiday wish come true.
For the first time since the program’s launch, the children’s letters were digitalized and uploaded to the Operation Santa website. You can read the children’s Santa letters here.
The letters gave a frightening look at how violent poverty had become under Trump’s watch.
If you scroll through the letters written with the chunky block letters that are solely unique to small children be prepared for your heart to ache and tears to fall at the desperate needs children across the country are dealing with.
One child wrote: “Dear Santa, I want one thing. I been a good girl and I want to ask you if you please get me a power wheelchair. My wheelchair is very old and it does not want to work. I am very sad. Please Santa, bring me a power wheelchair. I don’t want nothing else.”
Another child shared, “Dear Santa … My wish is money for my perents. $100 dollars would help us a lot. They are having a rough time with the bills.”
Back on the topic of policy, in December of 2020 the Trump administration acknowledged that hackers acting on behalf of a foreign government broke into several key government networks. Those networks include the Treasury and Commerce Departments.
The Trump administration believed the hacking was done by Russia and that the hackers had access to the email systems of the departments that were hacked.
Officials began a hunt to try and determine which other parts of the government were affected by what the government called at the time “one of the most sophisticated, and perhaps largest, attacks on federal systems in at least five years.”
And what did he Trump administration do about this? Basically nothing.
They has very little publicly about the hacks. The government had been concerned about Russia’s intervention in the 2020 elections, but instead, it appears they hacked departments unrelated to the elections.
“The United States government is aware of these reports, and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation,” John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said. And that was the end of it.
Trump’s policies and administrative efforts to undermine the US progress was not only backward, it was downright wrong. At best it took the country back decades an at worst it was illegal.
Truly the Trump administration was one of the worst ever and there’s ample evidence to support this claim. All you have to do is look for it.