The conventional wisdom holds that Republicans will maintain control of the House even if Donald Trump loses the presidential election decisively. However, most of those who subscribe to this view believe that the Democrats have some hope of taking the House.
How might the Democrats accomplish this? According to the New York Times, the plan is to target seats held by Republicans in affluent suburbs of big cities. The Times explains:
Democrats are particularly enticed by Mr. Trump’s dwindling support in affluent suburban areas — including those near Kansas City, Kan.; San Diego; Orlando, Fla.; and Minneapolis — where Republicans ordinarily win with ease. Mr. Trump is so disliked among college-educated voters, especially white women, that he is at risk of losing by double digits in several districts that the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, carried comfortably.
As Stanley Kurtz points out, Republicans in such areas have an issue that seems tailor-made to counter the Democrats’ in affluent suburban districts. That issue is President Obama’s transformative new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, which we have often discussed.
It seems unlikely that affluent suburban voters, whatever their view of Donald Trump, want the federal government forcing their localities to build low income housing in their neighborhoods and import poor people from other counties, or even other states, to live in these units. Yet this is what’s in store (and in a few areas is already happening) under AFFH.
House Republicans were nearly unanimous in supporting the Gosar Amendment to defund AFFH. House Democrats voted en masse against the Amendment.
Thus, the way is clear for Republican candidates in difficult House races in affluent suburban districts to tout their opposition to the Obama administration’s attempt to alter their neighborhoods. They can argue that a Democratic controlled House would eliminate the only real check on AFFH, thus paving the way for an end to local control of zoning, education, and transportation.
Unfortunately, according to Kurtz, Republicans have declined to make AFFH an issue in this campaign. As usual, the GOP is running scared. The party establishment is even working to unseat Rep. Gosar in tomorrow’s Arizona Primary.
Nominating Donald Trump isn’t the only reason Republicans deserve to be called “the stupid party.”
Hillary Clinton isn’t stupid. As Kurtz says, she has ducked repeated requests for comments on HUD’s AFFH attack on her hometown. She knows that AFFH has the potential to split the Democratic coalition in two. She probably knows that Westchester County’s local leadership flipped from Democrat to Republican in response to overreach on housing policy from Obama’s HUD.
If Republicans were smarter and more courageous, it would be the Democrats who would be running scared in the suburbs. But, as Kurtz concludes, that’s not the Republican party we’ve got.