The tie that doesn’t bind by Allen Rucker

I wrote a blog last month where I speculated that the principal cause of the segregation of people with disabilities from the rest of American life is not as deep-seated and seemingly intractable as bias based on racial or religious or sexual orientation. It is ignorance, lack of contact, and unfamiliarity.Unlike those other social schisms, few in the modern world think of the disabled as a single, monolithic sub-culture who are collectively, ipso facto inferior or less civilized or morally corrupt or a threat to other-skinned, heterosexual people everywhere. There was no ableist backlash when wheelchair-using Greg Abbott was elected governor of Texas like the racist/birther backlash in the wake of the election of Barack Obama. If anything, the only disability-related response came from the disability community itself, chiding the staunchly right-leaning Abbott for not being disabled enough, at least in his attitude toward his own kind. Texas Democrats dislike the guy intensely, but they don’t blame the wheelchair.

My friend and colleague Candace Cable rightly pointed out in a note after that blog that the face to face familiarity route is a slow one. “Experience and familiarity will drive inclusion,” she wrote, “but alone, it’s too slow when disabled people can’t even get somewhere to be familiar.”

Very slow. But the national disability community, I think, has an equally big problem – the lack of a common identity. I came across some startling statistics the other day that underscore the political and cultural mishmash of disabled citizens here. In a wrap-up report about disability voter results from the 2016 election published in The RespectAbility Report by the very astute Lauren Applebaum, various surveys pointed to the same result: almost as many voters with disabilities voted for Donald Trump as for Hillary Clinton. In one report, Trump got 46% of the disability vote (he only got 46.2% ofall votes) to Hillary’s 49%. In another, more voters with disabilities (40%) voted for Trump than voters with no connection to the disability community (35%).

I’m a little late to the party here, but I was stunned. Trump even went out of his way to mock a disabled reporter, a clip shown billions of times on television, and he still got half of the disability vote. I know I live in a liberal, elitist bubble called West Los Angeles, but 46%? I’m now starting to think the whole national disability-rights cohort – advocacy groups, publications, foundations, service organizations, etc. – lives in its own kind of bubble. There is clearly a major disconnect between half the populace with disabilities and those fighting for their rights. Major.

Which brings me back to point #1: people with disabilities in America are not a monolithic identity group, either inside looking out or outside looking in. As much as people who are trying to move the ball forward assume there is one like-minded community here, there isn’t. There may be cohesion and common purpose among various disability subgroups – the deaf community, the paralysis community, those on the autism spectrum, those with MS – but not across those groups, at least nationally. Maybe the day will come when the 35 million voting Americans with disabilities will bind together like the LGBT community and foment radical change, but that ain’t today.

I’m not the person with the resources to “drill down,” so to speak, and see who all these disabled Trump voters are or what they’re thinking. One guess is that they are part of the disgruntled, non-coastal electorate who voted for Trump out of anger or frustration (24.1% of the people of West Virginia, a big Trump state, are disabled). To them, the ADA and SSI/SSDI are just government handout programs that don’t do squat for their own economic or emotional security. I’d also guess that many think of themselves as part of a cultural and geographic community – Birmingham, Alabama, Youngstown, Ohio, East Texas – and that their shared attitudes with that community trump their shared attitudes with other Americans with disabilities. If they feel outcast and abandoned in this 21st Century world, they feel progressives are as much to blame as reactionaries.

One way or another, they are as alienated from the disability movement as Greg Abbott. It would take a major figure like Martin Luther King or a major inciting event like Stonewall and/or the AIDS crisis to create a new kind of cross-cultural unification of disabled voters. The problem is, nothing seems to cross-cultural lines in this severely fragmented America.Maybe this next election will show us a path forward. One can only hope.

Ref: “Polling Shows People With Disabilities Split Vote Between Trump and Clinton,” Appelbaum, Lauren, The RespectAbility Report, 12/14/16.


source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

by Allen Rucker

47 thoughts on “The tie that doesn’t bind by Allen Rucker

  1. Wonderful work! That is the kind of information that are supposed
    to be shared around the net. Shame on Google for no longer positioning this publish upper!
    Come on over and seek advice from my site .
    Thank you =)

  2. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  3. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers
    and both show the same results.

  4. Someone essentially assist to make severely articles I might state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus
    far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular put up amazing.
    Excellent job!

  5. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your site.
    You have some really great posts and I think I would
    be a good asset. If you ever want to take some
    of the load off, I’d love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Kudos!

  6. Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established
    blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure
    things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m
    not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions?


  7. I will right away clutch your rss as I can’t to find your email subscription link or
    newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me understand in order that I could subscribe.


  8. Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that
    would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward
    to new posts.

  9. I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by
    him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty.
    You’re incredible! Thanks!

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?


  11. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  12. It’s truly very difficult in this full of activity life to listen news
    on Television, therefore I simply use internet for that purpose, and take the most up-to-date news.

  13. all the time i used to read smaller articles or reviews which also clear their motive, and that is also happening
    with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.

  14. After looking at a few of the blog articles on your website, I truly like your way of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and let me know what you think.

  15. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something
    to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The design look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon.

  16. I like the valuable info you provide to your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and test once more right here
    regularly. I am moderately sure I will be informed many new stuff proper right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  17. I’m not sure why but this web site is loading incredibly slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still

  18. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time
    to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things
    or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read more things about it!

  19. I was excited to uncover this site. I wanted to thank you for ones time just
    for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new stuff in your site.

  20. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful information specially the last part
    🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  21. I don’t usually share any ways of making side money, but today will do an exemption. Check this affiliate program: . I started around 3 weeks ago and I am now getting roughly $3000 each month – all that by participating on blogs with my link. Easy money that can be done literally at home. Test it out and post your earning here, so others could see it is legit program. Thx.

  22. Howdy very cool website!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find a lot of helpful info right here in the put up, we want work out more techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  23. I do accept as true with all of the concepts you’ve introduced to your post.
    They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are
    very short for newbies. May just you please extend them a bit from next time?

    Thanks for the post.

  24. Hi there to all, the contents present at this web page
    are really remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  25. If some one needs expert view on the topic of blogging and
    site-building then i suggest him/her to go to see this blog, Keep
    up the pleasant job.

  26. After I originally left a comment I seem to have
    clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I
    get 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way
    you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

  27. Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. This is a
    very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read
    more of your helpful info. Thank you for the post.

    I’ll certainly return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *