Trump says 'Suburban Lifestyle’ Americans no longer have to worry about poorer neighbours
- American President Donald Trump celebrated the federal government rescinding Obama-era fair housing rules by stating that suburbanites won't have to "be bothered" about low-income housing in their neighbourhoods.
- "I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood," Trump tweeted.
- The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation required governments seeking federal housing funding to collect extensive data showing a lack of housing discrimination in their communities.
- Wednesday's tweets proudly announcing suburbanites wouldn't be "bothered" and "hurt" by living alongside low-income neighbors were among Trump's most explicit overtures in his bid to win back suburban voters, who have been staunchly repudiating the GOP since Trump took office.
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American President Donald Trump celebrated the US Department of Housing and Urban Development rolling back an Obama-era fair housing rule by touting that Americans living in a suburban "dream" would "no longer be bothered" by having low-income families in their neighbourhoods.
On July 23, US Housing Secretary Ben Carson announced that he would rescind the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, or AFFH, regulation enacted under the Obama administration.
The rule required state and local communities seeking federal housing funding under the 1968 Fair Housing Act to collect extensive data on demographics and living conditions and, importantly, show that they are not perpetuating racial discrimination.
"I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood," Trump tweeted on Wednesday. "Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!"
...Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
US housing advocates have criticised the rule change for giving localities much freer reign to allow discriminatory and unequal housing conditions to persist.
America's National Low Income Housing Coalition, for example, said the rule change as "represents a complete retreat from efforts to undo historic, government-driven patterns of housing discrimination and segregation throughout the U.S" and will "allow communities to ignore the essential racial desegregation obligations of fair housing law."
Wednesday's tweets proudly announcing suburbanites wouldn't be "bothered" and "hurt" by living alongside low-income neighbors were among Trump's most explicit overtures in his bid to win back suburban voters, who have been staunchly repudiating the GOP since Trump took office.
In 2018, Democratic challengers flipped 40 seats in the House of Representatives largely by winning over college-educated suburban voters, according to data compiled by CityLab, which found that 22 of the 40 flipped districts were located in dense suburban or sparse-suburban districts.
Now, as polls show that former Vice President Joe Biden is trouncing Trump among white, college-educated, and suburban voters, Trump is using fear to try and convince voters that Biden's housing plans will make their neighbourhoods less safe and desirable.
"The Suburban Housewives of America must read this article," Trump tweeted on July 23, linking to a New York Post op-ed criticising Biden's policy plans to expand affordable housing in suburbs and set standards to prevent against housing discrimination. "Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!"
As some commentators have noted, Trump's references to "suburban housewives" and his attempts to scare suburban voters by linking Biden to crime and disorder in the suburbs appear to stem from a decades out-of-date view of suburbs as being almost occupied by wealthy whites who are fearful of crime and distrustful of diversity in their communities.
While fierce fights against low-income housing persist in many suburban communities, today's suburbs are far more racially and economically diverse than the suburbs of the mid to late 20th century when the trend of "white flight" propelled many white Americans to flee urban areas and inner cities for the suburbs.
"To most people, the idea that Biden wants to 'destroy the suburbs' makes no sense," the Washington Post's Paul Waldman wrote on July 21. "It's only coherent if you think that an increase in racial diversity would 'destroy' the suburbs, which means that the suburbs only exist if they're all-white."
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