President Trump signaled his intent to make AFFH a campaign issue in remarks yesterday. He promised to reverse the AFFH rule — something we’ve been urging Ben Carson to do since the early days of the Trump administration. Stanley notes that Trump’s remarks went beyond his tweet of a couple of weeks ago, when he said he “may” end the rule.
Trump noted yesterday that, as a New Yorker, he has followed Westchester County’s entanglement with the feds over policies that were the precursor to AFFH. We discussed this saga here. Stanley summarizes it this way:
The Obama administration effectively stripped Westchester County of its zoning power, forced it to spend tens of millions of dollars on high-density low-income housing, then ordered it to “affirmatively advertise” that housing to non-residents. In effect, the federal government took over Westchester and forced it to suspend its own laws and spend its tax money on non-residents.
All this occurred without evidence, or even allegation, of housing discrimination. Westchester was actually one of the most diverse counties in New York at the time. Such demographic “imbalances” as existed there were a function of economics, not discrimination.
This is the future Joe Biden has in mind for America’s suburbs — one in which they must eliminate their single-family zoning, turn over their planning to the feds, and become helpless satellites of the cities they surround.
Westchester’s saga helped flipped the county that Bill and Hillary Clinton call home from blue to red. The question is whether President Trump will follow through and make AFFH and Biden’s anti-suburban plans an issue in the presidential election.
Stanley’s answer is “probably”:
Keep an eye out for what comes next. Does the president end the rule sooner, or only later? Does the action come in a passing press release, or perhaps an event complete with extended presidential remarks? That will be the first clue as to what role, if any, Biden’s anti-suburban policies will play in the campaign. It will be tough for the president to expose Biden’s war on the suburbs until the Trump administration has put the Obama-Biden AFFH to bed.
I think Biden’s promise to resurrect and supercharge AFFH is likely to enter the campaign. I’ve argued that Biden and the Democrats plan to “abolish the suburbs,” and it’s notable that the president used the phrase “abolish the suburbs” in his remarks. Everything from his tweet of two weeks ago to his remarks yesterday in the Rose Garden points to his intention to make a campaign issue out of Biden’s anti-suburban promises and plans. Even so, we’ll have to wait and see.
Many commentators believe that this presidential election will be decided by voters in the suburbs of big cities in swing states. Accordingly, it would seem like political malpractice for Team Trump not to make Biden’s plans for suburbs a major issue in the campaign.