As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. This questionnaire covers some of the most important issues impacting people with disabilities including employment, education, immigration, criminal justice and accessibility.
Several high-profile candidates recently submitted their completed questionnaires:
Washington, D.C., Nov. 1 – Tomorrow in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, eight campaigns are set to participate in a history-making Accessibility, Inclusion, and Outreach Conference focused specifically on issues that affect people with disabilities. This is important, as while recent polling suggests that voters with disabilities themselves are more enthusiastic about participating in the 2020 elections than the nation at large, none of the campaigns are yet fully accessible to the disability community.
“It is vital for the democratic process to be open to all people and all means all – including people with disabilities,” said Lauren Appelbaum, vice president, communications of RespectAbility. “The majority of voters have a friend or family member with a disability or have a disability themselves. It is truly exciting that eight campaigns will be focusing their attention on addressing the 1-in-5 people living in America with a disability.”
Seven of the Democratic candidates will participate themselves. They are:
Sen. Cory Booker
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Rep. John Delaney
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Rep. Beto O’Rourke
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Mr. Andrew Yang
Additionally, former Sen. Chris Dodd will speak on behalf of Vice President Joe Biden.
According to “Accessibility For All Now,” the organizers of the Forum, candidates will answer questions posed by people with disabilities and members of the Linn County Medical Society, which is co-hosting the forum.
Washington, D.C., Oct. 24 – At a presidential campaign fundraiser on Capitol Hill last night, Sen. Cory Booker said disability rights is “an important issue.” Speaking to members of The RespectAbility Report, he stated he has and is going to have a lot of policies relating to disability rights coming out.
“We have more to do to ensure equality for Americans with disabilities who still face high poverty rates & barriers to health care & quality of life,” Cory Booker tweeted in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) this summer. “As president, I’ll fight for equal rights & inclusion for people with disabilities.”
Sanders Campaign Only One to Have Dedicated Page on Website for Disability Rights Washington, D.C., May 28 – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is no stranger to the presidential primary campaign. As he did in 2016, his campaign has a dedicated page on their website for disability issues. While some of the…
Washington, D.C., May 26 – Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15) has joined more than 20 Democratic candidates vying for the presidential nomination. When it comes to how he could help people with disabilities, it is important to note that he is a cosponsor on several pending pieces of legislation that…
Rockville, Maryland, May 18 – John Delaney, the former Democratic Representative for Maryland’s 6th District until January 2019, announced his intention to run for President in 2017, making him the first declared candidate in the race. Since being elected to Congress in 2012, Delaney neither introduced nor cosponsored any bills…
Washington, D.C., May 16 – Julián Castro (D-TX), the former Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Obama Administration, has had a campaign that emphasizes the importance of putting “People First,” a clear jab at President Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine. However, since…
Washington, D.C., May 14 – New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is fighting to be the first woman elected President of the United States. But she has pledged to fight for people with disabilities as well. Gillibrand might not have a disability herself, but she has recognized that for a presidential…
Washington, D.C., May 10 — In November of 2017, Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants and an entrepreneur from New York, entered the 2020 Presidential campaign. Yang, the author of the “War on Normal People,” is running on the idea that average Americans are ill-equipped to survive in our economy, where there is increasing levels of income inequality.
His campaign, like his book, discusses the economic impact of workplace automation and our options for the future, including the idea of instituting a Universal Basic Income (UBI) of $1,000 per month to every American. He calls it the “Freedom Dividend,” and believes it will spur the economy and level the income inequality.
Many of the issues he describes, from workforce automation to income inequality, strikes at the heart of the disability community, and Yang would be well-served to include them in the conversation of “normal” Americans. Indeed, according to the CDC, people with disabilities comprise 25 percent of our country’s adult population, and more than half of Americans have a loved one with a disability. A recent survey shows that fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities. Thus, for a presidential candidate to represent all Americans, he must include people with disabilities.
Washington, D.C., May 7 – On the first day of African American history month, Sen. Cory Booker announced his campaign for President. Booker is the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey and the 36th Mayor of Newark, but he is not the average politician. He is an Ivy League educated policy wonk and bachelor, who holds celebrity status for his social media presence and famous actress girlfriend, Rosario Dawson, best known for her part in the movie “Rent.” While voters find him charismatic and experienced, in a crowded field he has failed to perform that well in the polls.
If Booker hopes to improve his position in the polls, he must represent all Americans, including people with disabilities, who are politically active swing voters. People with disabilities comprise 25 percent of our country’s adult population, and more than half of all Americans have a loved one with a disability. A recent survey shows that fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities.
Ensuring Disability Inclusion Through Equal Access
For a presidential campaign to be fully inclusive of people with disabilities, it needs to meet the following requirements: (1) offer captioning with every video it shares or produces, (2) mention people with disabilities and their issues, (3) depict people with visible disabilities in its media, (4) reach out to the disability community, and (5) provide accessible campaign events and website.
Booker announced his presidential campaign with a colorful, creative and exciting announcement video on social media that incorporated a black marching band drum line. The video had fantastic and accurate open captioning that only failed to caption the upbeat drum line background music. However, he made no mention of people with disabilities nor depicted any Americans with visible disabilities. And the videos he has since released make these same mistakes, sometimes even failing to include captioning at all. Thus, he has missed the opportunity, thus far, to have a fully disability inclusive video campaign.
Further, his website says, “Cory is leading the fight for equal justice for all Americans.” However, while his website mentions and depicts diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation, it does not mention or depict people with disabilities once. True diversity exists only if people with disabilities are included, and a candidate cannot represent all Americans if he is excluding 20-25 percent of them.
Washington, D.C., May 4 – When former Vice President Joe Biden threw his hat into the race for President of the United States, he became the 20th Democratic candidate to run for president in the 2020 election. He immediately led in most national and early primary state polls. When analyzing…
Washington, D.C., April 9 – Senator Amy Klobuchar, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota is running with the slogan, “Amy for America.” People with disabilities comprise 20 percent of our country’s population, and more than half of Americans have a loved one with a disability. A…