Offering up ideas for a Trump policy agenda for 2020 and a second term, the Wall Street Journal editorial page suggests, "He could put Democrats on the spot for high housing prices and homelessness by talking about restrictive zoning for elites and high property taxes."
How zoning damages housing affordability by constricting supply, and its potential as a political issue, has been a long-running theme around here. It's great to see the Journal raising the profile of the issue. These land-use restrictions are generally set by local governments, so at first glance it's hard to see precisely what, other than "talking," Trump could do about it. Or, as President Obama's economic adviser Jason Furman put it back in 2015 when the Obama administration tackled this issue as part of its second term agenda, "Land use regulations are largely, and legitimately, in the jurisdiction of state and local governments."
Trump could offer a carrot, providing some federal funds as a race-to-the-top style incentive to reward state and local governments that change their laws to allow more dense new housing construction. Or Trump could offer a stick, threatening to withhold federal transportation funding or housing funding, say, to state and local governments where laws obstruct new construction. I'm not endorsing either approach here, at least right now, just floating them as possibilities.