Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
Well, we’re smack dab in the middle of election season now, with the Republican National Convention wrapping up last week with Donald Trump accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for president.
This week, it’s the Democrats’ turn, with things set to kick off from Philadelphia later today. The Democratic convention probably would have looked tame (or lame, depending on your point of view) when compared to the Republican convention, but that’s not the case anymore.
The Democratic convention is now teetering on the verge of total chaos, as Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday that she plans to step down in the wake of a massive email scandal that revealed the DNC’s preference for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont; and the efforts the DNC went to ensure Clinton secured the nomination.
With Wasserman Schultz on the way out, set to step down after the Democrats’ convention ends later this week, the Democratic National Committee is now desperately in need of new leadership, and early reports suggest that one of housing’s biggest names may be in the running for the position.
According to CNN, and other outlets, Julián Castro, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is under consideration to serve as the new DNC chair.
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, was also on Hillary Clinton’s shortlist for vice president, but ultimately lost out on that opportunity late last week, when Clinton named Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, as her running mate.
The Texas branch of the Democratic Party came out in support of Castro (or his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas) as DNC chair.
“In our humble opinion, Texas Democrats believe that both Julián and Joaquin Castro have what it takes to pick up the reins and move the party forward,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “It would be remarkable to have the first Hispanic Chair of the Democratic National Committee.”
Castro, for his part, took being passed over for VP well, telling the Washington Post that he is disappointed but feels confident about Clinton’s chances.
From the Washington Post:
“It’s disappointing, of course,” Castro said in a telephone interview Saturday morning, “but it’s also easy to put into perspective. When I was 30 years old, I lost a very close mayor’s race. At the time I was completely disappointed and crushed. But a few years later I came back and I became mayor of San Antonio and it actually worked out for the better.”
“I believe that Hillary Clinton has a broad vision for America and that the Latino community is very much a part of that vision,” he said. “I’m confident she will get strong support.”
He added: “In the years to come there will be a Latino or Latina president. I believe that’s going to happen in due time. I hope to be alive to see it and I’m very confident that my kids will.”
With Kaine now attached to the Democratic ticket, Castro and the other big name in housing that were rumored to be Clinton’s shortlist, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., can return to their day jobs – but maybe not for long in Castro’s case.
Both Castro and Warren tweeted out their excitement about the Kaine pick. Castro, from his personal account, so as not to run afoul of the Hatch Act again, called the Clinton-Kaine pairing a “winning ticket.”
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) July 23, 2016
As for Warren, she spoke of Kaine’s work in housing over the years and used it to attack Trump, again.
.@timkaine started his career helping families fight housing discrimination. That’s because Tim has always had a good heart.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July 23, 2016
.@realDonaldTrump? He cheered on the 2008 housing crisis so he could scoop up real estate on the cheap. Trump thinks only about himself.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July 23, 2016
Democrats in the housing industry were likely celebrating on Friday night when Clinton announced Kaine as her running mate.
Kaine was, in his own words, a “fair housing attorney for nearly two decades,” and some are already calling his nomination a win for fair housing advocates.
As Vox.com put it over the weekend, Clinton’s choice of Kaine was a win for “people who care about housing discrimination.”
Kaine retained his interest in the subject as he entered politics, winning a $100 million jury verdict against Nationwide for discriminatory lending practices as mayor of Richmond. In the Senate, he’s continued to champion fair-housing issues even though it's an issue that doesn't exactly have a ton of appeal to swing voters or well-connected lobbyists.
With Kaine as vice president in the Clinton administration, people worried about housing discrimination will always have an open lane to the president.
As Vox notes, Kaine has been outspoken on fair housing in the past, including being part of a group of Democratic senators who in 2015 called for an investigation into alleged neglect of foreclosed homes in minority communities.
Kaine, Sens. Warren; Barbara Boxer, D- Calif.; Cory Booker, D-NJ, and others sent a letter to the heads of the HUD, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and National Credit Union Administration, requesting an investigation into claims that bank-owned homes in white neighborhoods are treated far better than homes in minority neighborhoods.
Now, Kaine’s bona fides in housing notwithstanding, the jury is still out on whether housing will actually be discussed in any substantial manner by any of the candidates as the election approaches.
Per Trump’s full prepared remarks, obtained prior to his speech by Politico, the closest Trump came to talking housing was in a section about the economy.
Trump spoke about the number of African-American children that are currently living in poverty, the current rate of unemployment, the number of people that have left the workforce in the last eight years, and the decline in household income since 2000.
On the other hand, the Republican Party platform, approved earlier in the convention, did call for significant changes to the country’s housing finance system, including scaling back the government’s role in housing.
“We must scale back the federal role in the housing market, promote responsibility on the part of borrowers and lenders and avoid future taxpayer bailouts,” the Republican platform states.
“Reforms should provide clear and prudent underwriting standards and guidelines on predatory lending and acceptable lending practices,” the platform continues. “Compliance with regulatory standards should constitute a legal safe harbor to guard against opportunistic litigation by trial lawyers.”
The Republicans also call for a “comprehensive” review of federal regulations, “especially those dealing with the environment,” that make it “harder and more costly for Americans to rent, buy, or sell homes.”
We should get a look at the Democratic Party platform early in the week.
Draft copies, available online now, suggest that the Democratic Party will work to defend the CFPB from Republican efforts to defang or dismantle it, increase funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, strengthen the Fair Housing Act, enact credit scoring reforms, and work to expand foreclosure mitigation counseling, among other items.
HousingWire will examine the entire thing for any and all housing mentions and report on it fully this week.
Time will tell whether Trump begins talking housing during his stump speeches or if housing will come up at all during the Democratic convention, but as we saw with Trump, including it in the party platform and mentioning it in your acceptance speech are two entirely different things.
But with big players in housing now at the head of the table (or potentially moving there soon), here's hoping housing talk moves into the spotlight soon.
And finally, the FDIC reported no closed banks in the last week. Have a great week, everyone!