Why aren't the candidates talking about housing?

Chicago Magazine's Dennis Rodkin and Brian Bernardoni of the Chicago Association of Realtors join Morning Shift to talk about how housing plays into the election

September 24, 2012

Miles Doornbos


As the end of the election cycle draws near, there will be plenty said by both candidates about the economy, about taxes, about foreign policy, about what's on their iPod. However, from year to year, and election to election, one massively important topic seems to get the short shift on both sides of the political divide: housing. And this year is no exception.
The reasons that candidates typically stay mum on issues of housing are detailed and various, but, according to Brian Bernardoni, Senior Director of Political Affairs and Public Policy for the Chicago Association of Realtors, it comes down to two main reasons:
"The first is practical, the truth is, most politicians don’t move. They simply aren’t involved in real estate transactions. Frankly, it’s something that most of us do very, very few times in our lives. Politicians do it less than almost anyone else. As such, they aren’t really familiar with the nomenclature, don’t have a real feel for the ins-and-outs of the market. The second reason is that there's no way to generalized housing; what it means to me, it might not mean to you." 
If politicians can't find common ground, a base definition for what the blanket term "housing" means, how can they talk about it in an age where brevity and clarity are essential?
Bernardoni also suggests that the lack of clear solutions, solutions that satisfy a wide range of voters, makes navigating the housing waters difficult for politicians, especially in the mad scramble for votes near the end of a campaign.
"Recently, the FHFA came out with two profound statements on imminent domain and adding borrowers fees to foreclosures. How could a politician really talk about that, when there are no crystal clear solutions? It’s easier to focus on jobs, because it’s all woven into housing, and helps you avoid the messier, more confusing aspects."
But the question remains: with the election only six weeks away, will housing come up at the debates? Do Americans even want to hear about housing from either candidate?