Reader’s Note: This came from an e-mail from the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind (An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind). While this came from a blindness advocacy this is directed at all disabilities not just blindness (Thus why I’m passing it long). Talking points 1-5 discuss education for those with disabilities. There are links embedded in each talking point for references (if the reader wants to investigate further).
DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE POSITIONS
ON ISSUES WHICH CAN EFFECT THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
Why is this analysis more important this year than other presidential election years? The answer is that never has the choice between candidates been so starkly different.
According to the latest 2010 federal census, nearly 1 out of 5 Americans have some form of disability.
In 2010, this meant almost 60,000,000 Americans were persons with a disability. In 2016, where the current population in the U.S. is around 324,000,000, around 62-million Americans are persons with a disability.
This makes Americans with a disability one of the largest minorities in the United States. And yet… and yet… we have all heard of the Silent Majority, well, one could argue that persons with disabilities in America constitute the invisible minority. There are many reasons for this apparent “invisibility,” but it is beyond the scope of this article to explore these myriad reasons. Instead, let us focus on the two major candidates for President of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and attempt to identify their principles, policies, and plans for addressing the concerns and needs of Americans with disabilities.
We attempt to set forth a nonpartisan analysis. We present research for informational purposes only. We hope that the data presented herein will help voters with disabilities, as well as those who know, love, work with, and share a concern for persons with disabilities, to understand where each candidate stands on the issues that many persons with disabilities care about.
1. On Education
Trump’s website, which showcases such issues as “Live Free or Die,” “Political Correctness,” “Trump University Truth” and “The Establishment,” includes one mention of education, in a video. “I’m a tremendous believer in education,” proclaims the businessman and reality TV star, as he bemoans how much the nation spends per pupil.
Clinton’s website offers proposals on K-12 education, early childhood education, college affordability, health care and labor unions. “I want to fight for you and for educators, and for students and for families. I think they go together,” reads a quote on the K-12 education issue page.
2. Over Testing
Clinton: “We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward.” International Business Times, 10/24/15
Trump: No position.
3. Charter Schools
Clinton: Too many charter schools “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody.” The Washington Post, 11/08/15
Trump: “We’ve got to bring on the competition — open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships.” “The America We Deserve,” by Donald Trump, 07/02/00
4. Respect for Public Schools, Educators
Clinton: “I will ensure that teachers always have a seat at the table in making decisions that impact their work.” U.S. News & World Report, 10/03/15
Trump: “Schools are crime-ridden and they don’t teach.” “The America We Deserve,” by Donald Trump, 07/02/00
5. College Affordability
Clinton: Clinton‘s New College Compact spells out how students can attend a four-year public college without taking loans for tuition, and attend community college tuition-free: “We should have debt-free college if you go to a public college or university. You should not have to borrow a dime to pay tuition; I disagree with free college for everyone.” Business Insider, 02/27/16
Trump: Trump University was a way to build a “legacy as an educator,” said Trump. He is being sued by the New York Attorney General for allegedly defrauding thousands of students. The Washington Post, 06/04/16
6. Health Care for Both Children and Young Adults
Clinton: “When I put together all the influences on me and what I really cared about, it was to be a champion and advocate for kids. That’s why I helped create the Children’s Health Insurance Program.” While First Lady, Clinton played a lead role in creating the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, expanding health care to millions of children. FactCheck.org
Trump: Trump vows to “completely repeal” the Affordable Care Act, which among other things, allows young adults who cannot get coverage through their jobs to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. It has resulted in 5.7 million young adults getting health coverage.
7. Campaign Speeches
On September 21 2016, Democratic candidate for President Hilary Clinton gave a speech in Orlando, Florida, that specifically addressed disability issues.
As far as we could tell, no major network covered this speech live and a brief search showed that no major network spent any appreciable time covering the speech during their evening programming.
An internet search revealed no hits regarding disability and trump’s rallies.
8. The party platforms and disability
The Democratic platform:
While it may appear that platform’s disability rights section has shrunk in comparison to the 2012 platform, when the document is examined in entirety, people with disabilities are included in numerous other sections, from employment, minimum wage and housing to technology, education and voting rights.
The Republican platform:
One of the 17 items listed under the Republican platform’s section, “Great American families, education, healthcare, and criminal justice,” is the link: Advancing Americans with disabilities:
“Under the last two Republican presidents, landmark civil rights legislation affirmed the inherent rights of persons with disabilities. Republicans want to support those rights by guaranteeing access to education and the tools necessary to compete in the mainstream of society. This is not just a moral obligation to our fellow Americans with disabilities. It is our duty to our country’s future to tap this vast pool of talented individuals who want to work and contribute to the common good…”
9. The candidates’ websites
10. The candidates and the ADA
11. The candidates and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
12. Simply searching the candidates name with “disability”
13. The candidates on Social Security and Medicare
Clinton: We must preserve, protect, and strengthen these lifelines.
According to AARP, here are the views of the 2 candidates on Social Security:
What will you do to make Social Security financially sound for future generations?
Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations. Hillary understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.
Republicans are using scare tactics about the future and effectiveness of Social Security to push through policies that would jeopardize it. The real threat to Social Security is Republican attempts to undermine the bedrock of the system. Hillary believes that Social Security must remain what it has always been: a rock-solid benefit that seniors can always count on—not subject to the budget whims of Congress or to the fluctuations of the stock market. She fought Republican efforts to undermine Social Security when she was a senator and will fight them as president. As president, she would:
• Fight any attempts to gamble seniors’ retirement security on the stock market through privatization.
• Oppose reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments.
• Oppose Republican efforts to raise the retirement age—an unfair idea that will particularly hurt the seniors who have worked the hardest throughout their lives.
• Oppose closing the long-term shortfall on the backs of the middle class, whether through benefits cuts or tax increases
Donald J. Trump:
What specific plans do you have to ensure that Social Security provides adequate benefits to meet the needs of future retirees?
I will work with Congress to ensure we have a pro-growth agenda in place. If we are able to sustain growth rates in GDP that we had as a result of the Kennedy and Reagan tax reforms, we will be able to secure Social Security for the future. As our demography changes, a prudent administration would begin to examine what changes might be necessary for future generations. Our goal is to keep the promises made to Americans through our Social Security program.
Hilary Clinton on Social Security:
Donald Trump on Social Security, “social security is here to stay”:
14. The candidates, jobs, and disability<ul>
Hillary Clinton Outlines Vision of More Job Opportunities for People with disabilities:
Trump Says He’s Hired People with Disabilities, Discusses Plan To Stop Drug Addiction
15. National Democratic and Republican Conventions, 2016:
Disabled finally have a place at the DNC
Disability rights took the spotlight at the Democratic convention this year
How do Convention Goers at the RNC with Disabilities Feel about Trump and Republican Party?
RNC Delegates with Disabilities Talk Accessibility