Another thing I feel I can do is share information from sources that others may not read, in the interests of making us all more astute about attempting to mitigate the effects of a Republican administration.
The question is who gets to lead HUD?
I’m betting you don’t think much about the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Everyone I know, at least in this country, lives in a decent and safe dwelling. We all probably know, vaguely, that a lot of urban people — and a lot of rural Americans as well — have badly dilapidated and even unsafe housing, or no housing at all. HUD doesn’t affect me or my readers much, but it does affect the lives of a lot of Americans.
Fair housing practices come under HUD — fair housing meaning the attempt to avoid the worst impulses of NIMBY voters, which are to provide no money for housing at all, or if affordable housing is built, to see that it is concentrated in already poor communities.
Trump and his father, Fred Trump, ran afoul of fair housing rules in the 1970’s when they turned away black tenants from their New York city properties.
Now, a couple of names being floated by Republicans for the top HUD job — former senator Scott Brown and Pamela Patenaude, President of the Terwillinger Foundation for Housing America’s Families — are solid executives with a commitment to fair housing. But another name has risen to the top of the heap: Trump crony Robert Astorino, Westchester County executive, a committed opponent to President Obama’s achievements in advancing decent housing for poor and moderate income families.
All eyes right now are focused on the higher profile appointments, like State and the Justice Department. But keep HUD in the back of your mind. The one saving grace may be that the rural voters who went overwhelmingly for Trump are deeply affected by the lack of decent housing in their aging and economically depressed communities. If Trump really is going to reward his voters and keep them on board, housing could be a signature issue. I personally wouldn’t bet on it. But keep your eye out for the HUD appointment. It will be another sign.