Analyzing The 2020 Presidential Contenders' Housing Policies

Henry Kraemer (@HenryKraemer

The next President of the United States will give a shit about housing.

The average American spends far more on housing than any other expense, the vast majority sees housing affordability as a serious problem, and most people report having made a serious personal sacrifice to afford rent or a home payment.

Housing is central to economic stability, deeply intertwined with race, and a critical factor in climate change. In short, it is smack dab in the center of the issues voters care most about in 2018.

In light of all that, it’s unsurprising that several of the most prominent 2020 Democratic candidates for president have come out the gate with housing plans. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker have all put out proposals. Julián Castro intends to make housing central to his run. If other candidates don’t speak to the housing insecurity felt deeply by voters, they will be foolishly leaving support on the table.

But not all housing plans are created equal. When voting begins in 2020, in all likelihood some proposals will be bold and sweeping while others will be timid or flimsy. Some plans will directly attack the racist, crony capitalist roots of the housing crisis. Others will try to slap some band-aids on it while leaving the sickness at the heart of the system untouched.

As staunch, vanguard progressives who want the movement to win in 2020, Data for Progress wants to see every campaign put out the most audacious, impactful policy possible. So throughout the race, we will be releasing analyses of every campaign’s housing proposal, along with recommendations to improve each one.

We begin with policies from Warren, Harris, and Booker, since those have already been put forward as federal legislation. As other campaigns release housing plans – or as campaigns update their initial bids – we will analyze those as well. We will also use the housing proposals as a lens to help us better understand the candidates themselves, and the political philosophies that guide them.

This is not horserace analysis or intended to favor one candidate over any others. Our hope is for every campaign and every voter to reach the best housing policy possible.

Read the briefs here or click below.


Henry Kraemer (@HenryKraemer) is a writer and activist focused on housing, social democratic urbanism, and voting rights. He previously spearheaded the creation of America’s first automatic voter registration law in Oregon and its expansion across the country. He lives in Portland and works a day-job in renewable energy.

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