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Op-Ed: Recent Fair Housing Decisions Could Boost Republicans

A New York Times op-ed predicts that recent changes to Fair Housing could prompt unintended consequences—such as new support for the Republican Party among middle class white populations.
July 16, 2015, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Thomas B. Edsall pens on op-ed arguing that two recent Fair Housing developments will test the allegiance of liberals. The two decisions—a Supreme Court decision to uphold the "Disparate Impact" doctrine and the new "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development—will allow the federal government more authority in implementing the agenda of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

According to Edsall's argument, the requirements for affluent, "predominantly white" communities to build more low-income and affordable housing "may drive some middle-income and other whites into the arms of the Republican Party." Edsall cites the example of Westchester County in New York, where a 2009 consent decree required 750 units of affordable housing for low-income blacks and Hispanics. Since that controversial decision, voters in this Democratic stronghold have twice elected a Republican as the county executive.

Speculating on the possibility of larger effects beyond the political blowback for Democrats, Edsall goes on to cite a 2007 essay by Robert Putnam in describing isolating and negative effects found in diverse neighborhoods. Finally, Edsall describes the beginning of political machinations by Republicans to capitalize on voter discontent with the recent Fair Housing changes.

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Published on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 in The New York Times
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