White, largely affluent suburban voters helped push Biden over the finish line, but do they have any idea what they voted for?
According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, Biden’s win was powered by a surge in suburban votes for the Democrat ticket with the largest suburban areas registering the first net Democrat advantage since Obama’s win in 2008.
“In terms of aggregate votes in these large suburban counties, there was a shift from a 1.2 million vote advantage for Trump in 2016 to (at last count) a 613,000 vote advantage for Biden—a nearly 2 million vote flip.” The report continues, “These advantages for the President-elect were even greater in key battleground states.”
The conventional wisdom is that some combination of Trump’s overall behavior in office, his Twitter feed, the Black Lives Matter movement, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic caused this mass defection. While it’s impossible to know for sure, these were all hot topics in the lead up to the election and the conclusion seems reasonable enough.
At the same time, it prompts a reasonable question: Do these largely white, affluent voters have any idea what policies they were endorsing?
On the campaign trail, Trump would frequently mention that he “saved the suburbs,” and, despite media protestations to the contrary, there is more than a little truth to that.
Trump was referring to an Obama-era regulation from 2015 known as the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. Implemented under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the rule requires any jurisdiction that receives federal housing funds to assess patterns of housing discrimination and implement a plan to diminish them.
At the time, advocates claimed the new rule finally bolstered the Fair Housing Act’s promise to administer housing-related programs “in a manner affirmatively to further” fair housing. Critics, including President Trump, didn’t see it that way.
Federal housing funds flow across 49 states and Puerto Rico, either directly through the Department of Housing or through the states, with a special set up for Hawaii. Meaning, these funds touch almost every neighborhood in the country and the new rule makes receiving them subject to the government’s approval of their plan to end housing discrimination.
Translation: If you want the dollars, the Federal Government is now in charge of local zoning laws and they will use their new-found power to destroy the traditional, single family home suburbs.
Don’t believe me?
Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, not exactly a conservative outfit, admitted as such. “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.” Complying with the new law means that, “most of the time that’s going to require that they remove some of those restrictive zoning laws and allow for apartment buildings to be built and put in…where currently they’re not allowed.”
Yentel isn’t the only one who thinks that might be the case. One of the author’s of the rule, Kathy O’Regan, professor of public policy and planning at New York University said, “You can imagine if you look at the distribution of where housing that’s affordable is and isn’t, that you’ll see disparities between the suburbs and the cities, particularly the outer suburbs…So you can imagine the implication is, you might want to do things differently in the future to address that.”
The mafia translation: Nice little neighborhood you have there, it’d be a shame if anything happened to it.
I understand why more integrated neighborhoods are a noble goal. Diversity, especially of the non-government mandated kind, is good. The rule, however, achieves its objective by forcing you to comply with threats to withhold your funding. Ultimately, it takes suburban decision making out of the hands of suburbanites and places it in the hands of, likely liberal, government bureaucrats who, as always, will do what they will.
A Biden administration is almost certain to reinstate this rule, but that’s not the only policy the left-wing of the Democrat party is pursuing that will have a detrimental effect on suburban life.
Black Lives Matter is another movement with a noble goal that will likely have a negative impact on suburbia. In August, the organization unveiled the The BREATHE Act, a proposal to redirect federal funds away from police, prisons, and other areas of the criminal justice system and into underserved minority communities.
The policy isn’t limited to criminal justice reform, however. It also calls for a committee on studying reparations, an expansion of Medicaid, and infrastructure that can withstand climate-change related challenges, plus clean air and water for all communities.
The problem for suburbia: They don’t need any of those things, but they’re going to be forced to pay for them with tax hikes that take federal tax dollars from their communities and send it to other, more left-wing preferred, communities.
The list doesn’t end here, either.
Medicare For All would radically restructure healthcare, taking insurance plans away from suburban households and forcing them into a government system. The proliferation of Critical Race Theory and other related doctrines will radically restructure the relationship between white employees and their minority counterparts. The Green New Deal will increase suburban energy bills and taxes, shifting funds away from local neighborhoods and require expensive updates to make houses comply with sustainability regulations.
Again, fair minded people are likely to agree that many of these are noble goals, but the real question is at what cost and what impact on your life.
Are you willing to give up your single family home? Your son’s and daughter’s job? Your healthcare? Your local police force?
It’s an often repeated refrain in Democrat circles that the working class votes against their own interest when supporting Republicans. This time the opposite has occurred, and suburban voters should beware the consequences.