“Others” threatening the “typical” American family’s way of life should Biden be elected, is becoming the main theme right now of the President.
Only this time they’re not coming in the form of caravans of dangerous foreigners wanting to get into the country for the purpose of wreaking havoc. No, these outsiders are from the inside. They’re already here.
As this President puts it, America’s “mothers [and] fathers”:
“Worked hard to buy a house, and now they’re going to watch the housing values drop like a rock.”
Because of the people Joe Biden wants to move in to the neighborhood.
Let’s take a step back for a second, especially since we just exited a week that was very focused on Trump family history. The President’s dad was notorious for refusing to rent to African-Americans in properties he owned in New York.
We’ve personally known about this for a long time in the form of an oft-told story from one of our relatives who was thrilled to land a job with Trump’s organization, but quit before she started after they “suggested” to her to of course not to rent to any minority applicants, and how to “code” applications so it wouldn’t be obvious to anybody who wasn’t in the know. And that was even before Donald Trump was anything special.
And this isn’t conjecture, this is fact: Donald Trump along with his father, settled a case brought by the Justice Department, which charged the Trumps with housing discrimination. The Trumps managed to squirm out with no admission of guilty on their part. Rather, a promise that he and his father would not discriminate in the future, and would study up on the federal Fair Housing Act. (We’ll get back to that in a second, because it comes into play here.)
Nowadays, Trump is taking his father’s “principles” and putting them on full display as a centerpiece of his campaign. Warning that suburbanites favoring Biden are going to pay for it by watching their lives and homes “go to hell.”
And while we’ve seen tons of articles over the weekend about how absurd Trump’s assertion is, and how steeped it is in overt racism, most stories stop there.
Content to leave it as the President desperately trying to appeal to a segment of white suburbia he’s temporarily lost, but feels he can win back if he scares them about outsiders coming for them and their family and their way of life.
A lot couched their coverage of this story as political analysis, so not an examination of fact in Trump’s speech. (Does that let them off the hook?) Some did dig a little deeper. But for the most part, they did not take the time to look at what Trump is specifically referring to from his opponent’s policy proposal that would launch America—in Trump’s view—into this landscape of decay (dare we say “carnage”) and worst of all: property values going through the floor.
So we felt it was worth actually taking a look at the Biden policy from which Trump’s accusations stem. Because Biden lays it out very neatly as part of 110-pages of policy proposals the Democratic Presidential candidate put out.
“Implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule requiring communities receiving certain federal funding to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address policies that have discriminatory effects.”
That’s it. And in fact, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” is part of the 1968 federal “Fair Housing Act”. What the Obama administration did, and Biden is suggesting he’ll resume doing, is tasking the Department of Housing and Urban Development with making sure cities and towns which receive Federal money for any housing or urban development are in compliance with a law that’s been on the books for more than 50 years.
In other words, the completely left wing Radical thing Biden is proposing, is to enforce already existing laws! There are places in Biden’s 110 page documents where he proposes things that are actually new and might be controversial (like goals for the environment and clean energy). But this is not one of them.
We’ll say it again: what’s got Trump maybe most up in arms about what Biden’s said (or at least an area where Trump has decided he can score huge political points), is Biden saying he will choose to enforce existing laws.
And in case you were wondering, when the “Fair Housing Act” passed in 1968 as a component of a bigger Civil Rights law, it had bipartisan support (though also some opposition from both parties).
Oh, but this is all just Trump being Trump, right? Well maybe it’s a little extreme even for him, but what did we expect? And what if the story is simply meant to be about Trump’s shifting political strategies?
But even if that’s true, is there any world in which we should be content to just leave it at that? And leave the President’s twisted words stand. In effect, letting the President have the final say?
Yet, that’s the way much of the media is going with this story. And that’s even more disturbing to us: How a big slice of the media seems to have still learned nothing from 2016, and is gleefully putting that fact on full display.
If you remember, and there’s no reason why you should, we suggested after Trump’s election in 2016, that all journalists who were just so certain a Trump loss was in the bag should’ve been fired. Not because journalists are not allowed to make mistakes, but because they were so damn smug about their certitude, and we were so sure they would be again. And that’s just what we’re seeing again, now.
So the media again, by and large, may be doing a service by pointing out the President’s ridiculousness. But by not tracing his accusations back to where they originate, is letting him get away with his lies. In other words, while they are pointing out the ludicrousness of his assertions, they are not bothering to point out how inconsistent they actually are with what Joe Biden is actually saying. In that context, Trump wins. Because his voice gets amplified X2, and his opponent’s voice is not heard. The implication being that although Trump’s spouting racist hogwash, it’s actually coming somewhere from something legit and is some form of pushback. And in this case and so many others, it totally isn’t. Trump’s just standing around making assertions.
Why is the media largely taking this approach? We can only think of two possible reasons (maybe you can think of more):
- They assume people will just know what Trump’s saying is nonsense and a lie, well, because it is nonsense and a lie.
- They believe that Trump’s stand is so overtly racist that that’s the story; that’s the main thing people should and will care about.
- History has shown us they won’t.
- They won’t. And in many ways, it underscores the exact point Trump’s trying to make.
So Biden’s going to have to waste a lot of time and resources now rebutting all this stuff, and he can do so in a forceful way, but if the reporting on this wasn’t either so lazy, or so neglectful and forgetful of all the mistakes made by some of those very same reporters in amplifying all of Trump’s lies in 2016, he wouldn’t have to.
We’re not suggesting it’s the job of political reporters to do Biden’s work for him, just that they should know better by now than to do still do Trump’s work for him. Because they still have no idea how or where the President’s words land. So there’s no room for assumptions or shortcuts that make assumptions about who’s consuming the news and how.