EYA Westside at Shady Grove Under Construction by Dan Reed licensed under Creative Commons.

Which of the following quotes are from the current occupant of the White House, from a prominent Democratic politician, or from a local housing opponent?

  1. People have gone to the suburbs, they want the beautiful homes, they don’t have to have the low income housing development built in their community, which is going to reduce, which has reduced the prices of their homes, and also increased crime substantially.
  1. Black Americans love single family houses as much as White Americans love single family houses as much as Latin Americans and Asian Americans…We love our houses…Owning a home is part of the American Dream. I doubt that any of my neighbors want to stop living in their single family homes because an academic has told them it’s racist to own a house with a large yard.
  1. The building is too tall for the [redacted] and the precedent this sets is horrendous. We depend on zoning to protect our neighborhoods…We must stop the overdevelopment.
  1. [The government] made a promise, a compact…in our vision and our zoning. Those definitions are what drove [many] to find our American Dream in this county… Zoning is a fundamental, a promise.


  1. President’s campaign tele-rally on July 28.
  2. Homeowner in East Silver Spring, located just outside the urban downtown boundary.
  3. Democratic representative for NYC Jerry Nadler.
  4. Testimony at Montgomery County hearing on accessory dwelling units.

With falling poll numbers from the inconsistent response to the pandemic, and in the midst of continued protests for Black lives across the country, the president of the United States has recently tried to appeal to suburban swing voters using language that may sound familiar to many GGWash advocates and readers.

His racial and classist bullhorns are out of touch with the multiethnic reality of the suburbs today, but is the rhetoric really so different from that used by local housing opponents, most of whom vote for Democrats? Is the president just pandering to rhetoric that is already mainstream?

Last week, the Trump administration officially ended protections from the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, a provision of the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act, ostensibly claiming that it had not worked as intended. The president followed up this change in campaign events, speeches, and tweets declaring another motive - “protecting” the suburbs.

Some of this language, however, seems barely distinguishable from that used by local housing-skeptics, many of whom are avowed Democrats.

These similarities have not been lost on housing Twitter.

And of course, there are real and serious consequences to this language of protection, bother, and belonging.

Could the president’s words result in soul searching among local housing-skeptical Democratic voters, or will negative feelings for the president prevail? Me, I think the president wanting to protect single-family zoning will be seen as equivalent to him declaring that the sky is blue: even an opponent may be right occasionally.

Many agree.

But partisan identity has a history of influencing policy positions, so we can hope.

What do you think?

Tagged: housing

Sanjida Rangwala grew up in Canada and lived in multiple places in the US before landing in Silver Spring with her husband and two cats. She thinks way too much about infrastructure, inclusivity, and why we live the way we do. In her entirely unrelated day job, Sanjida figures out where the genes go in the genomes.