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News and Reaction, Politics, Sunnyvale

Restrictive Zoning Induces Partisan Shift

Here is a provocative article from CityLab: How Land-Use Restrictions Make Places Tilt Left

The gist of this is: restrictive zoning makes housing more expensive. The folks who can afford expensive housing tend to be college educated. College educated people tend to be more liberal, and vote Democratic.

If you restrict the amount of housing that can be built in a city, you squeeze out poor folks, and the folks who can afford to buy in are the “Liberal Elites.”

More restrictive counties tend to shed Republicans and become more Democratic over time—a pattern that seems to have accelerated since 2012. And, more restrictive counties tend to gain more college-educated people and shed fewer educated ones, which contributes to their partisan shift. As Sorens notes, college education may causally mediate a substantial part of the relationship between zoning and partisanship at the county level. In other words, a county’s becoming more educated as a result of building restrictions makes it more Democratic.

I think our policies, especially in the privileged suburb where I live, need to allow and facilitate more housing. As a Liberal Democrat, I do not want to live in a bubble community. While I take some pride in the idea that education leads to progressive politics, I am disappointed that a party that prides itself as a champion of the working class and the poor, gains a partisan advantage when the working class and poor get squeezed out of our communities.

As a Democrat in a Blue City, I think we owe a debt to our communities to correct restrictive zoning in order to redress the damage done to our own working class, who can not afford to live here.

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