Bernie Sanders has just scored a crucial endorsement from the New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens, a popular leftist Facebook meme group. The Facebook meme group connects teens and millennials across the world who are entertained (or obsessed) with memes about urban transportation and planning.
In an admin post published Wednesday, the group announced its endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders was motivated by “Sanders’ vision of peace, equity and justice.”
The administrative board praises Bernie’s track record before zeroing in on which “particularly speak to us as NUMTOTs.” NUMTOTs here are concerned with policies that seek to transform cities and “bring us closer to building equitable, affordable, and sustainable places in which we all can not only live, but thrive.” This means Housing for All policies such as:
“Build 10 million units of affordable housing”: In 2017, the National Low Incoming Housing Coalition found there was a 7.4 million unit gap of affordable and available rental units. Not a single state had enough affordable housing for low-income renters.
“Make Section 8 rental assistance an entitlement, easing the rent burden for millions of low-income families”: Sanders’ plan claims 7.7 million families in the United States are forced to take on a higher rent burden because they are eligible for Section 8 rental assistance, but the program is not fully funded. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, points out that without assistance, the poorest renters have the highest risk of eviction, homelessness, starvation, or illness—largely because they must spend more of their limited income on rent, instead of food or medication.
“Enact nationwide rent control protections” In 2016 alone, around 2.3 million people are evicted each year-—that’s 36 evictions for every opioid overdose that year or 2 evictions for every car accident. What’s worse is that those numbers are just judge-ordered evictions, most evictions seem to be informal evictions where landlords either lockout tenants or pay them to move out. Rent control is key to stopping evictions and protecting families from losing the sudden disruption of losing their homes, jobs, or security—and it has already worked in places like New York state.
“Create a National Fair Housing Agency and work with HUD to undo the harms of government-sponsored segregation and redlining”: According to Sanders’ plan, this agency would be “dedicated to protecting renters from housing discrimination, investigating landlords who misuse Section 8 vouchers, and enforce housing standards for renters.” Though redlining was banned fifty years ago, we are still plagued by the racist policy as it institutionalized neighborhood segregation, predatory loans for black and brown people, and continued the tradition of plunder that built America’s “racial wealth gap.”
Compared side by side, Sanders’s plan goes a little further than Senator Elizabeth Warren’s or really anyone else’s for that matter. The focus on ”affordable housing as a right” vs. people “deserve” or “should have” affordable housing, along with leveraging the Green New Deal to repair and modernize our crumbling infrastructure, all helped tip the scales in Sanders’ favor with this key meme interest group.
On Thursday, Senator Sanders posted in the group, thanking them for the endorsement and reaffirming his commitment to the policies that drew NUMTOTs to him in the first place: