Microblog #86

A housing drinking game for the presidential debates? Be careful what you wish for.

There’s something different about this presidential campaign, and not just because it’s already in full swing more than 17 months away from Election Day 2020. Among the 20-plus candidates on the Democratic side, more than a few have been talking about housing on campaign stops.

It may seem obvious that former HUD secretary Julian Castro would have a housing policy, but he’s only the latest candidate to put a plan on paper. Elizabeth Warren was first with her American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, followed by Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders.

The fact that housing is becoming more of a mainstream issue is a result of relentless increases in housing costs over the past decade, while incomes stayed relatively flat. In 2016, pollster Geoff Garin found that 39% of the electorate thought that housing was a “fairly serious” or “very serious” issue. Today, that number is 60%—a huge jump over one election cycle. Even more impressive, 75% of voters today say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate with a plan to make housing more affordable.

So, if you watch the debates tonight and tomorrow, count the number of times you hear housing mentioned. Line up your cocktails (or non-alcoholic beverage) and be prepared to get to work a little late the next morning . . . at least we hope so.

***Screengrab via MSNBC

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