Disability and the Trump Administration

Professor David Pettinicchio is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with expertise in the area of political sociology and social policy and particular research interests in the area of policy and disability. He currently has a SSHRC-funded research project investigating employer discrimination against persons with disabilities. He recently published an editorial piece in The Hill, a US political newspaper. The full article is available here. We have included the beginning of the piece below.

Disability and the Trump Administration – What’s Next?

In unprecedented fashion, disability-related issues were prominent in this last electoral cycle. During the primaries, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and John Kasich promised to address persistent economic inequalities confronting people with disabilities, as well as address the occupational ghettoization of workers with disabilities into dangerous, lower-paying employment.

Clinton, who spent a great part of her adult life helping members of historically disadvantaged groups that include people with disabilities, moved from a narrow focus on expanding social and health services to a broader platform addressing deep-rooted inequalities that keep people with disabilities down.

Had Clinton won the election, we would no doubt demand that her campaign promises about helping people with disabilities be translated into policy. What might we expect from the Trump Administration?

Trump’s plans for the country are anyone’s guess right now. Much of the post-election anxiety is the result of the vague, sometimes conflicting, and often blustering rhetoric by the president-elect across an array of policy areas. To say that Trump’s platform lacked policy specificities is an understatement. In that vein, Trump has made little mention of disability-related social policy.

Rather, Trump’s association with disability in the campaign came by way of his mocking Serge Kovaleski, the New York Times reporter with arthrogryposis.

 

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