To scare white voters

Trump has been saying Biden wants to “abolish the suburbs” and Biden has been responding that that’s horseshit. (Possibly not his exact wording.)

Trump has largely focused on an Obama-era rule intended to combat historic racial discrimination in housing. The president has said he could be releasing his plan for replacing the rule any day now.

“Replacing” here means “reversing” or “nullifying.”

It’s another instance of Trump implicitly using race in his campaign pitch, which he’s also been doing explicitly on other issues. In this instance, the president appears to be using a policy to fight housing segregation in an attempt to scare white voters about outsiders coming into their neighborhoods. On Friday, he said that Democrats want to “eliminate single-family zoning, bringing who knows into your suburbs, so your communities will be unsafe and your housing values will go down.”

Oh no, not who knows. What race is that exactly?

In making this pitch about the suburbs, Trump has been attacking an Obama-era regulation called the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which was meant to combat housing discrimination. 

Trump of course is all about housing discrimination. The Feds sued him over it back when he was starting out in the racist housing business.

Which homeowners is it not fair to? The whole point of it is to be fair to homeowners who have been shut out of the whole “build equity by buying a house” arrangement because the real estate business painted majority-black neighborhoods in red so that Smart Shoppers of the pasty persuasion would know not to buy there. The government did the same thing, designating some public housing Whites Only. Trump wants to hang onto all that as opposed to fixing it.

[The AFFH rule] tells jurisdictions that receive federal housing funds that they have to assess what patterns of housing discrimination they have and then come up with a plan to diminish them. It also provides a data-based tool for communities to use in doing this assessment.

The rule was implemented in 2015 under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, a federal law that says federal agencies have to administer any housing-related programs “in a manner affirmatively to further” fair housing. Advocates said that the rule at long last gave specificity and teeth to that provision.

In practice, that may well look like rezoning in some communities, according to Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“When local communities are required to take a look at how segregation developed in their neighborhoods, most of them are going to find that it was local zoning that led to that purposeful, policy-driven segregation,” she said.

Those red areas on the real estate maps. They didn’t get there by accident, or by natural selection.

Mind you, he cut the rule’s hamstrings long ago.

The rule went into effect in 2015, but in January 2018, the Trump administration gutted it, telling cities they no longer had to use the tool (and that they had two more years to submit their assessments).

Pssst – black lives matter too. Sir.

In his rhetoric about this policy, Trump is saying that “a suburb is the kind of community where great Americans live because we’ve limited it,” said Lynn Vavreck, professor of politics and public policy at UCLA.

“I think it’s just straight-up racializing this idea of housing,” she said. “This is the kind of argument that Trump makes all the time: ‘I’m going to tell you that these people are good, or us versus them. We, the good people, and they, the bad people. And we have to keep them out to keep our greatness.'”

And we know how to tell them apart because of the handy color code installed in your brain.

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