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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- [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.
- President’s campaign tele-rally on July 28.
- Homeowner in East Silver Spring, located just outside the urban downtown boundary.
- Democratic representative for NYC Jerry Nadler.
- 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.
*Donald Trump announces Montgomery County school board candidacy* https://t.co/9zeCmREKyi— Frank Santos Fritz 🌹 (@FSantosFritz) July 29, 2020
I didn't know Donald Trump lived in Bethesda, Maryland https://t.co/aXDXs3fPnl— Zoe Tishaev 🦀 (@aintthatZo) July 29, 2020
the irony of Trump trying to drive a wedge by favoring suburban segregation is of course that no prominent Democrat has called for suburban integration in 50 years— Jake Anbinder (@JakeAnbinder) July 29, 2020
And of course, there are real and serious consequences to this language of protection, bother, and belonging.
For those playing along at home, "bothered" is the word that triggered me the most.— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) July 29, 2020
This shit right here is why Ahmaud Arbery is dead. https://t.co/8ZYFwpihMT
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.
This may not change suburban minds about Trump or about housing. Approved nimby thinking these days is low-income housing is good but only in somebody else's neighborhood. This is about somebody else's neighborhood. https://t.co/XPse2HO8OW— Benjamin Ross (@BenRossTransit) July 29, 2020
But partisan identity has a history of influencing policy positions, so we can hope.
Trump goes full NIMBY, will hopefully serve to help shame housing opponents in the expensive blue metros. pic.twitter.com/V7rdu52KYA— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 29, 2020
What do you think?