Totally agree with you Ed. I think the Washington Post headline is a dose of hyperbole. I have a question about spurious correlations and as far as I know the ACS does not ask what type of vehicle is there in the household so this paragraph in their paper gave me pause:
Using ACS and presidential election voting data for regions in our training set, we train a logistic regression model to estimate race and education levels and a ridge regression model to estimate income and voter preferences on the basis of the collection of vehicles seen in a region. This simple linear model is sufficient to identify positive and negative associations between the presence of specific vehicles (such as Hondas) and particular demographics (i.e., the percentage of Asians) or voter preferences (i.e., Democrat).