As America heads toward another presidential election, one of the biggest voting blocs up for grabs will be suburbanites.
In 2016, Donald Trump won the suburban vote over Hillary Clinton. Recent polling has shown the incumbent president trailing in the suburbs, however, particularly among women. If suburban voters knew what Joe Biden has in store for their communities once elected, they might change who they’re willing to cast their ballot for come November.
In 2015, President Barack Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a regulation known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). The administration claimed it issued the rule to combat “housing segregation” in suburbs, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968 already outlawing discriminatory housing practices.
According to the New York Post, had the regulation been successfully implemented nationwide, localities across the country would have had to “scrap zoning, build bigger water and sewer lines to support high-density living, expand schools and social services and add mass transit. All pushing up local taxes.” In essence, virtually all control regarding local governance would be outsourced to the federal government.
Biden Wants to Centralize Power
Not only has Biden agreed to implement AFFH if elected, but he has also promised to go much further. Originally, the AFFH rule used HUD grants as a persuasion tactic to bring suburban communities into compliance, while local communities could still make decisions about whether to pursue these grants or retain local zoning control.
Biden, however, has signed on to a proposal by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., that would effectively withhold federal transportation grants, used to build and repair highways, unless communities sign on to AFFH. It would be almost impossible for many communities to decline this funding for critical infrastructure, handing over America’s suburbs to the federal government.
Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, recently spoke in an interview with Mark Levin about how a Biden presidency would effectively abolish America’s suburbs as we know them. “It would allow bureaucrats in Washington, in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to control zoning laws, to control the placement of transportation and business districts, even to some degree the drawing of school districts,” Kurtz said. “In other words, almost every important local governmental responsibility could, under AFFH, fall into the de facto control of the feds.”
The Trump administration officially discarded the rule in July, arguing the regulation was a blatant power grab by the federal government. “President @realDonaldTrump and I agree that the best run communities are the ones run locally,” tweeted HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Today, we are tearing down the Obama Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which was an overreach of unelected Washington bureaucrats into local communities.”
President @realDonaldTrump and I agree that the best run communities are the ones run locally. Today, we are tearing down the Obama Administration's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which was an overreach of unelected Washington bureaucrats into local communities.
— Archive: Ben Carson (@SecretaryCarson) July 23, 2020
The administration is replacing the Obama-era rule with its own policy, called Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice. According to a HUD press release, the new rule “defines fair housing broadly to mean housing that, among other attributes, is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws.” The new regulation also provides more power to local governments with regard to zoning decisions.
Goodbye to Peaceful Suburbs
Suburban voters should also know that with AFFH, the crime we routinely see on TV every night, such as the riots in Portland, will likely no longer be exclusive to major cities. As localities surrounding metropolitan areas begin to be forcibly melted into inner cities, we very well might see city crime begin seeping into once-peaceful suburbs.
The very same soft-on-crime policies that have encouraged crime, such as those in New York City, will become the new norm for our suburbs as city police newly encompass suburban police, under worse policies for both. Following the death of George Floyd, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio slashed the New York Police Department’s budget by more than $1 billion and disbanded the plainclothes anti-crime unit. Coupled with the state’s new bail-reform laws, the results have been catastrophic.
According to the Washington Examiner, “In one week in July, shootings in the city increased by 176% compared to the same week last year, with 47 shootings reported compared to 17 shootings last year. Additionally, killings also increased that week, with 14 killed compared to five during the same period in 2019.” In addition, the month of July marked more shootings in New York City so far this year than in all of 2019.
If Biden is elected in November, Americans in the suburbs can kiss their peaceful communities goodbye. Citizens who moved out of the cities hoping to escape violence would be under a Biden administration more likely to be trapped in the same circumstances they fled.
There’s a reason the Democrats and mainstream media continue to avoid this issue. If suburban voters begin to understand what Biden’s AFFH rule would mean for their communities, many would flock to Trump, irrespective of what they think of his tweeting habits. Americans want to live in safe neighborhoods, where their children can go outside and play. If Trump can campaign effectively on this issue, his chances for reelection will improve dramatically.