Tom Adams, a lawyer and 20-year veteran of the securitization business, compares a map of America's largest foreclosure inventories with a map of key battleground states.
The Obama administration inherited a brutal housing crisis, which it fought in part by offering some mortgage relief to American householders, but that aid was dwarfed by the bailouts (and later, criminal immunity) for the predatory financial institutions that engineered the crisis. While Sanders campaigned on a promise of creating "an Office of the Homeowner Advocate" to "help struggling families who have been wrongly denied assistance, or who have had difficulties navigating the extremely stressful system of avoiding foreclosure," Clinton was easy to paint as fatally compromised by her long, close relationship with Wall Street.
The foreclosure map and the election map aren't perfect fits, and Adams doesn't propose that foreclosure was the sole reason for the loss of the key battleground states, but he suggests that foreclosure was a significant factor in the shift.
Clinton was aware of the problems caused by the wave of foreclosures: last fall the NY Times reported that the campaign was frustrated that the crisis had displaced so many homeowners that their database of voters was disrupted. Perhaps this is why the campaign's get out the vote efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and other states were much less effective than the campaign had hoped for. Some reports were that up to [25%] of the voters the campaign contacted were actually Republicans or potential Trump voters. In fairness, Clinton was probably concerned about the economic plight of affected homeowners and communities than she was about the technological issues it caused, but that was hardly the dominant campaign message.
How much of an impact would a compassionate outreach have had on these neighborhoods? It's also worth remembering that the people hit by the foreclosure crisis were generally middle class – prior to the crisis they owned homes, held jobs, were members of the community. Where were they by the time the 2016 election came around?
Guest post: the foreclosure vote