Search This Blog

Thursday, November 10, 2016

President-Elect Trump

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns.   In this campaign, a number of posts discussed Trump's support for the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.  He also has a bad record on disability issues more generally.

Ari Ne'eman writes at Vox:
Trump has not been shy about his support for the thoroughly discredited idea that autism is caused by vaccinations. As early as the second GOP primary debate, Trump linked autism to vaccines, going on to spout the long discredited idea that “autism has become an epidemic. … Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control.”
Of course, this is not true — not only has the autism-vaccine link been shown to be false, but a growing body of scientific evidence shows that autistic people have always existed in approximately the same proportion of the general population, rather than constituting a recent epidemic. But while Trump’s comments on autism have little scientific legitimacy, they have tremendous political relevance.
Over the past 10 years, federal autism policy has witnessed a sea change. As autistic self-advocates (those of us who are autistic ourselves) began to play a bigger role in autism policymaking, discussion began on the need to shift from an overwhelming emphasis on causation, biology, and cure to promoting new investments in services, educational methodologies, and assistive technology.
Many policymakers took note of the objection from large segments of the autistic community to attempting to “cure” autism, hearing our preference to instead focus on improving the opportunity for autistic people to develop skills and lead successful lives as autistic adults. At the behest of advocates like me, Congress changed the nation’s premier autism statute from the Combating Autism Act to the Autism CARES Act, denoting a shift toward a greater emphasis on services rather than trying to make autistic people look and act “normal.”
It’s long been clear to autistic activists that Trump is aligned with the most reactionary forces in the autism community, who would prefer that none of these changes take place. He enjoyed endorsements relatively early in the cycle from prominent anti-vaccine activists who adamantly oppose recent shifts toward a more progressive autism policy. 
Daniel Marans writes at The Huffington Post:
People with disabilities and their family members are deeply afraid of what a Donald Trump presidency has in store for them ― and they are already gearing up to resist harmful policy changes.
First and foremost, advocates worry that Trump’s professed desire to weaken the country’s safety net could jeopardize the lives of vulnerable Americans. They’re also concerned that federal agencies’ roles in policing discrimination and driving reforms of law enforcement practices will change.
Although it is impossible to know how Trump will govern, his campaign platform, the Republican Party’s priorities and his bullying personality ― embodied by his campaign-trail mockery of a reporter with the joint condition arthrogryposis ― are not reassuring, according to disability rights activists. 
At Buzzfeed, Michelle Broder Van Dyke shows Twitter reactions from people with disabilities.

Lindsay Dodgson writes at Business Insider:
Many analyses of Trump's budgets are that it looks like a disaster, and this could have a bad effect on scientific funding. Deficits are likely to explode, and Trump hasn't identified any areas of science that he thinks are worth supporting.
Many scientists contacted Nature to voice their fears about the future of their research.
"This is terrifying for science, research, education, and the future of our planet," Maria Escudero Escribano, a postdoctoral scholar studying electrochemistry and and sustainable energy conversation at Stanford University, wrote on Twitter. "I guess it's time for me to go back to Europe."
"I do breast cancer research for my PhD," Sarah Hengel, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, tweeted. "Scared not only for my future but for the future of research and next years [National Institutes of Health] budget."