In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns. As I explain in the book, Hillary Clinton has a long history with the issue, and has issued an autism policy statement for the 2016 campaign. Trump infamously mocked a journalist with a disability.
There's a buzz penetrating the political scene this election year and it's coming from the world's largest minority group: people with disabilities.
Enter #CripTheVote, a Twitter/social media conversation that encourages voters and political candidates to exchange concerns and views on disability rights.
When people with disabilities consider themselves part of a group, they take action, such as through #CripTheVote, according to Michelle Nario-Redmond, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Hiram College. Nario-Redmond's "Disability Group Identification and Disability-Rights Advocacy: Contingencies Among Emerging and Other Adults" (Emerging Adulthood: 2016) reveals this phenomenon.
In her study of 204 emerging adults with disabilities, Nario-Redmond found those who identify themselves as members of the disability community are more involved in political activism and civil rights advocacy and are also more in tune with discrimination than their counterparts who identify less as group members.
"They see the unfairness in the world and recognize discrimination as a problem of those who impose it, not those inflicted by it," says Nario-Redmond, who explains that group membership opens communication channels. It gives people a chance to hear others' opinions and in turn, perhaps, validates their own.
Nario-Redmond points out that people with disabilities who come together as group members are likely to vote in elections. Her daughter, a registered voter since she was 18, encourages this year's presidential candidates to look at history and, in particular, at last year's 25th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act.
More information: M. R. Nario-Redmond et al. Disability Group Identification and Disability-Rights Advocacy: Contingencies Among Emerging and Other Adults, Emerging Adulthood (2015). DOI: 10.1177/2167696815579830