Washington, D.C., April 8 – Earlier today, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic Primary, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.
While neither the Biden campaign nor the Trump campaign have yet released detailed policy plans on disability issues, ahead of the Iowa Caucus Sen. Sanders rolled out a comprehensive “Fighting for Disability Rights Plan.” In the plan, Sen. Sanders promised to “incorporate disability issues into every other area of public policy” and “promote access, autonomy, inclusion and self-determination for all.” The RespectAbility Report covered the plan back in February.
Sen. Sanders had also responded to RespectAbility’s detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire was purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility reached out to all of the major presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle. All responses to the candidate questionnaire will be posted in full on The RespectAbility Report as they come in and will be used to produce and update nonpartisan voter guides in all 50 states. It is the hope of RespectAbility that the remaining candidates will send their responses in soon.
Last month, RespectAbility released new polling data of the battleground states showing that the disability community is large and electorally contested, but the issues they care about most are not being sufficiently addressed.
“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” added former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett, who was one of the coauthors of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the chairman of RespectAbility. “The vote of the disability community is not monolithic but attention to disability issues will gather votes for candidates.”
“The disability community is unique,” added Philip Kahn-Pauli, associate editor of The RespectAbility Report. “It is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time due to illness, injury, or aging. What that means is that there are people with disabilities in every state, and that the community’s interests intersect with so many issues, including race, gender, poverty, criminal justice and inequality.”
According to a Rutgers University study, 14.3 million citizens with disabilities voted in 2018. Those voters will be crucial as candidates vie for the presidency, as well as state-wide and local elections.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes as voters go to the polls. RespectAbility has reached out to all of the presidential campaigns and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.