Posts tagged with "Bernie Sanders"

protest illustration by Alison Christensen for 360 Magazine

The Nation Reflects on Occupy Wall Street

On the ten year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, that week’s issue of The Nation reflects on the movement’s signature contributions and lasting influence. The Nation was an early watcher of OWS—devoting not one but two special issues to the movement and its moment. They published Naomi Klein’s speech declaring “this beautiful movement [the] most important thing in the world” and Richard Kim’s profile of the protesters in all of their “audacity”; Astra Taylor on media messaging and Nathan Schneider on the debates that threatened to break apart Occupy. As an organization that believes there are always alternatives—in history, in politics—we celebrate the spirit, energy, and legacy of Occupy. 

Occupy Wall Street unexpectedly inaugurated a new wave of protest. The domestic manifestation of a worldwide explosion of digitally networked social movements, it scaled up rapidly, attracting enormous public and media attention. But the protesters were evicted from New York City’s Zuccotti Park and other occupied spaces after only a few months, and Occupy dissipated soon afterward. Some commentators have dismissed it as a meteoric flash in the pan, while others have criticized its “horizontalist” structure and lack of concrete demands.

The past decade has witnessed some of the largest protests in US history, as well as the unprecedented impact of Sanders’s presidential campaigns and the growth in the number of young people (and some growth among older ones as well) who openly support socialism. Would all of this have happened without Occupy Wall Street? We reconnected with original Occupy organizers to explore their political activities since 2011 and to hear their reflections on OWS’s legacy a decade later.

About the Writers

Ruth Milkman teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center and the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and is the author, most recently, of Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat. Stephanie Luce is a professor of labor studies at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. Her books include Labor Movements: Global Perspectives and Fighting for a Living Wage. Penny Lewis is a professor of labor studies at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and a co-author of the forthcoming A People’s Guide to New York City (University of California Press, 2022).

Milkman, Luce, and Lewis are conducting an ongoing research project on the long-term impact of Occupy Wall Street, following up on their 2013 study Changing the Subject.

About The Nation 

Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.

360 football illustration for sports articles

THE ECONOMIC SUPER BOWL

In midst of a pandemic that devastated society, including sports, the total wealth of 64 billionaire sports barons shot up by $98.5 billion, or over 30 percent. Taxpayer subsidies for stadiums of 26 billionaire team owners have totaled $9 billion since 1990, with most in last decade.

We won’t know the winner of this year’s Super Bowl till Sunday, but we already know the big winners in our COVID-ravaged economy include dozens of billionaire sports barons.

On the eve of the big game, and after 10 plus months of the pandemic, 64 billionaire owners of major league sports franchises—including the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs’ Hunt family and the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Glazer family—have enjoyed a $98.5 billion rise in their collective net worth, a 30 percent increase, as millions of fans have fallen ill, lost jobs, neared eviction, gone hungry and died due to the coronavirus.

The 64 billionaires, who together own or co-own 68 professional sports franchises, had a combined wealth of $426 billion on January 29, 2021. This number is up from $326 billion on March 18, 2020, roughly since the start of the pandemic lockdowns, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), and data analysis from Forbes and Wealth-X. (Note: The increase in total billionaire wealth from March to January was $100 billion, but has been adjusted to $98.5 billion because an additional billionaire reached that status in January 2021.)

The sports billionaires’ private gain in the midst of so much public pain is particularly galling since many of their franchises have been the beneficiaries of taxpayer handouts. Over the past several decades, according to data maintained by Field of Schemes, 28 pro sports teams owned by 26 billionaires have received $9 billion in taxpayer subsidies (see Table here) to help build or update stadiums and arenas and make other investments that billionaires could presumably afford on their own. These publicly subsidized team owners have seen their wealth increase $45 billion since mid-March.

For the full report go to Pandemic Super Bowl 2021: Billionaires Win, We Lose.

Over the past five years—when a lot of sweetheart tax deals were cut—the collective wealth of sports billionaires shot up $165 billion, or 67 percent. Their combined wealth of $247 billion in March 2016 had grown to $426 billion by January 29 of this year. (Nine billionaires on the list in 2021 were not billionaires in 2016, accounting for the $14 billion discrepancy.)

The $98.5 billion wealth gain by 64 sports franchise billionaires since March 2020 could pay for:

  • A stimulus check of $1,400 for over 70 million Americans—almost half of the 153 million people who likely will be eligible under the pandemic relief plan proposed by President Biden based on the 2020 stimulus payments.
  • More than one-third of the $290 billion cost of providing $400-a-week supplements to existing unemployment benefits through September, as proposed by President Biden in his COVID rescue plan.

March 18 is used as the unofficial beginning of the pandemic because by then most federal and state economic restrictions responding to the virus were in place. Moreover, March 18 was also the date on which Forbes estimated billionaire wealth for the 2020 version of its annual report. That report provided a detailed baseline that ATF and IPS have been comparing periodically with real-time data from the Forbes website. [See past reports here] This methodology has been favorably reviewed by PolitiFact.

Last March is when the nation’s emergency response to the deadly virus threw professional sports, along with the rest of society, into turmoil. Thousands of low-paid stadium and arena workers lost their jobs as sports seasons were cancelled and curtailed.

The long winning streak of America’s billionaire sports owners is just part of the dominance of a national dynasty of 661 U.S. billionaires whose wealth has grown by $1.2 trillion, or 40%, during the pandemic. The number has climbed from $2.9 trillion on March 18 to $4.13 trillion, as of January 29, 2021 (see link here for all data).

Though only one of their teams will lift the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champs this year, both the Chiefs’ Hunt family—specifically, Ray Lee Hunt and W. Herbert Hunt—and the Bucs’ Glazer family will continue their long reigns among the nation’s biggest economic winners. The Hunts’ net worth is estimated by Forbes at $6.3 billion, up $482 million during the COVID crisis. The Chiefs received $250 million in taxpayer subsidies for stadium renovations in 2006.

The Buc’s Glazer family is worth an estimated $1.7 billion, according to Wealth-X. Taxpayers provided a total of $218 million in subsidies for construction and renovation of the Buccaneer stadium in 1998 and 2015.

Sixty U.S. billionaires—roughly one in ten of the country’s 661 total billionaires—own one or more major league professional sports teams in the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MBL), and National Hockey League (NHL). Four other billionaires—three from Canada and one from Germany—own four additional teams.

“These billionaire sports barons have seen their wealth rise as their fans lose their lives, livelihoods, health and wealth,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, Program on Inequality.  “As a country, we should be investigating pandemic profiteering and taxing windfall gains during these extraordinary times.”

“The Super Bowl brings the whole nation together, but we have not come together as a country to beat the pandemic,” said Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente. “Billionaire sports owners have continued their long winning streak of ever-growing fortunes while fans at home are losing their lives and livelihoods. Real team work would require billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes so we can get the whole U.S. back to its winning ways.”

“Every year, wealthy sports team owners rake in more than two billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies for new stadiums and arenas that, according to innumerable economic studies, provide zero measurable economic benefit to the public,” said Neil DeMause, co-author of Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit, and editor of the stadium news site. “Letting billionaire owners socialize their costs and privatize their profits has allowed the rich to get richer, while starving local governments of revenue to pay for schools and other genuine public needs.”

Tax reform that ensures the wealthy pay their fair share—the principle President Biden’s tax plan is built on—would transform a good chunk of those huge billionaire gains into public revenue to help heal a hurting nation. But getting at that big boost in billionaire fortunes is not as simple as raising tax rates: tax rules let the rich delay, diminish and even ultimately avoid any tax on the growth in their wealth. What’s needed is structural change to how wealth is taxed.

The most direct approach is an annual wealth tax on the biggest fortunes, proposed by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, among others. Another option is the annual taxation of investment gains on stocks and other tradable assets, an idea advanced by the new Senate Finance Committee chair, Ron Wyden. Even under the current discounted tax rates for investment income, if Wyden’s plan had been in effect in 2020 America’s billionaire sports owners would be paying billions of dollars in extra taxes this spring thanks to their gargantuan pandemic profits last year. Another reform is needed to significantly strengthen the estate tax so that the riches accumulated by these ultra-wealthy sports franchise owners pay their fair share of taxes when these dynasties get passed onto their heirs.

Nina Turner Launches New Firm

Nina Turner Launches National Public Affairs Firm To Advance Progressive Issues

Nina Turner, former Ohio State Senator and Co-Chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, announced today she has launched a new firm designed to bring a progressive voice to America’s public affairs arena. Turner’s new firm, Amare Public Affairs, will work with anyone, and everyone, interested in advancing the progressive ideals and issues Turner has fought for and championed her entire career.

“This moment in American history demands that progressive voices play a central role in the national conversation around a whole range of issues,” Turner said. “The future is now. For too long, the voices of Black people, other people of color, women, and progressives were left out of that conversation, and our country has suffered as a result. We are living in a time when people, especially millennials and Generation Z, are demanding socially-conscious solutions from governments and corporations. We can build a better country and a more just society by engaging with each other in a meaningful way on the root causes of societal problems. That starts with ensuring our voice is heard from the streets of our forgotten cities to the roads of rural communities to Main Street America, and finally, to the halls of power in the public and private sectors.”

Through a lens of economic fairness based upon human rights, Amare offers:

  • High-level communications strategy and crisis management
  • Omni-partisan coalition-building and third-party stakeholder management
  • Grassroots, community and faith-based engagement
  • Campaign strategy, including but not limited to political, corporate and non-profit
  • Specialty in socially conscious diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Influencer strategy and engagement on their social justice priorities
  • Paid communication services (direct mail, digital services and media services)

These services, and more, will help entities and individuals tap into the socially conscious future happening right now.

“As companies and foundations across the country look for ways to embrace the changing environment in America, Amare will help them ensure they do it right and with trusted partners with real ties to people of color in communities across the country,” Turner said. “I hear from many people that they want to invest in our communities and get it right. Amare is here to help them do just that.”

A former professor of African American history, Turner has dedicated her career to championing progressive causes and policies across the country, and has done so most recently as the national Co-Chair for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. In 2016, she served as a national surrogate for his presidential campaign. As a native Clevelander, her career in politics began in Ohio in 2006 when she was elected to the Cleveland City Council. She went on to serve her constituents as a state senator from 2008 to 2014.

As one of the nation’s leading political strategists, Turner often appears on cable news as a commentator to give voice to progressive ideas and ensure they are woven into every political, societal and economic discussion.

Turner is launching her firm with support from partners at Mercury Public Affairs.

“If not now, when, and if not Nina Turner, who?” said Charlie King, a partner at Mercury. “We are investing in Amare Public Affairs not just because we believe in Nina, but because we believe that she brings a necessary presence and perspective to the conversations Americans are having daily. Nina has star power and is a change maker who gets things done, while ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard. This is her moment, but we know it’s just the beginning. We look forward to her success and partnering with her whenever we can.”

Ashley Walker, a Mercury Partner, said, “Women generally and women of color especially are beginning to take their rightful place at decision-making tables in board rooms and campaign headquarters across America. Nina Turner brings a voice that has for far too long been underrepresented and a strategic firepower that more than justifies her place at the table.”

Fabian Nunez, a Mercury Partner, said, “Nina Turner is a national leader who can help build better understanding between all segments of our society. Her work as a state senator, her leadership on the Sanders campaign and her advocacy for progressive causes demonstrate she has the skills needed to bring people together. Mercury is honored to help Nina launch her business and know she will bring tremendous value to all who work with her.”

Billionaires Gain, Workers Feel Pain

Half a year into a paralyzing pandemic that has cost millions of Americans their livelihoods and lives, the nation’s 643 billionaires have racked up $845 billion in collective wealth gains, a 29% leap since March 18. America’s billionaires reached this startling milestone of wealth accumulation even as special federal relief was drying up for millions of unemployed workers and for hard-pressed state and local governments struggling to provide vital services. Billionaire figures are from Forbes analyzed in a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Between March 18—the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were in place—and Sept. 15, the total net worth of the nation’s billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion to $3.8 trillion (see table below and this spreadsheet of all billionaires). That works out to gains of $141 billion a month, $32 billion a week, or $4.7 billion a day. Forbes’ annual billionaires report was published March 18, 2020, and the real-time data was collected Sept. 15 from the Forbes website.

Needless to say, ordinary workers did not fare as well. From mid-March to mid-August, the collective work income of rank-and-file private-sector employees—all hours worked times the hourly wages of the entire bottom 82% of the workforce—declined by 4.4.%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In fact, this billionaires’ bonanza occurred against a general backdrop of working-class pain:

The stock market in which billionaires have much of their money invested dropped sharply in the month before the pandemic lockdown. But the six months of gains that followed were not merely a reversal of those losses: billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22%, richer today than they were in February 2019, the release date of the most recent previous Forbes annual report (see table below).

“Every candidate in this campaign season, from presidential hopeful down, who’s pledging to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis must address this stark divergence between the nation’s wealthiest elite and their struggling fellow citizens,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “The answer starts with creating a fair share tax system that narrows obscene wealth gaps and raises the trillions of dollars needed to address the present emergency and invest in our families and communities over the long-term.”

“The billionaire economy has been turbocharged by policymakers who are now stalling on relief for the real economy,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the report “Billionaire Bonanza 2020.” “The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down.”

DATA ON THE WEALTH OF U.S. BILLIONAIRES AT 6 MONTHS & 20 MONTHS AVAILABLE HERE

Even among billionaires, wealth is highly concentrated. Roughly $400 billion, or only a little less than half of the total gains, were captured by just the 15 wealthiest on the billionaires list. The top three gainers alone—Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—enjoyed fully 16% of the spoils, or a collective wealth surge of $137 billion. The total wealth of these three—$403 billion today—is nearly three times the $1.5 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans. One billionaire from Michigan, Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth increase an astonishing 672%, growing from $6.5 billion to $50.2 billion.

The $845 billion wealth gain by 643 billionaires over the past six months far exceeds the:

Low-wage workerspeople of color and women have suffered disproportionately in the combined medical and economic crises because of long-standing racial and gender disparities. Billionaires are overwhelmingly white men.

House Democrats passed a relief bill back in May that offered a lifeline to Americans not sharing in the billionaires’ good fortune during the pandemic. Among its provisions:

All of the above data is available in one table here.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have introduced legislation for a 60% tax on the pandemic wealth gains of billionaires between March 18 and the end of the year and use the proceeds to help working Americans cover healthcare costs.

Rita Azar illustrates DNC article for 360 MAGAZINE

DNC Recap

By Eamonn Burke

The Democratic National Convention kicked off it’s virtual event last night, starting with speeches by prominent politicians including Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, Andrew Cuomo, and a keynote by Michelle Obama.

There were also powerful words delivered by George Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd, and Kristin Urquiza, who lost her father to Covid-19. “My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” she scathed, adding that her vote for Joe Biden would be in his honor. Mr. Floyd called for a moment of silence and for remembrance of those who have died from racial injustice to continue far beyond the night.

The politicians also denounced Trump and backed Biden strongly. Cuomo hailed Biden as having all of the characteristics of a true leader: a unifier, a builder, “as good as our people,” he said. “That man is Joe Biden.”

Kasich, a former Republican Governor of Ohio, acknowledged that he disagrees with Biden on some topics, but “that’s OK because that’s America.” Ultimately, he recognized that Joe Biden “can bring us together to help us find that better way.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, the former rival of Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, made a strong appeal to emotion, highlighting the incredibly high stakes in this election and the importance of defeating President Donald Trump. “The future of our planet is at stake” he pleaded. “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

Lastly, Michelle Obama ended the night with a strong moral case against President Trump. She painted the current government as being one of “chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy,” and called Trump “the wrong president for our country.”

“If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it,” said the former First Lady. Trump lashed back at Obama, tweeting that he would not be in the White House if not for the work of her husband, and calling the Obama-Biden administration “the most corrupt in history.

As far as logistics of the convention, the lack of a traditional setting was noticeable, and many of the speeches were pre recorded. Trump slammed Michelle Obama for this, denouncing her for having the wrong COVID-19 numbers. Democrats has planned to convene in Milwaukee, but later decided to move entirely online. Actress Eva Longoria was brought on as the host of the show to create a more personable atmosphere. Video clips, montages, and performances were also infused into the event.

The second night of the DNC featured a role call which officially nominated Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential ticket. It also featured more speeches from past politicians on both sides, such as former President Bill Clinton (D) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell (R). There were new faces as well, like U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D). The night ended with Joe’s wife Jill speaking. The event was hosted by actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

Clinton focused on the economy in his speech, highlighting the U.S as “the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple” despite Trump claiming how well we are doing as a country. Ocasio-Cortez used her speech to second the nomination of Bernie Sanders, a formality for a candidate over a threshold of 300 delegates.

Joe Biden and his family made a virtual appearance from a classroom to accept the nomination, and he appeared later on after his wife’s speech.

In her speech, Jill Biden made a case for why her husband had the capacity and experience to understand the hardships that American families are going through in this crisis. She mentioned the death of their son, Beau, from cancer, and how he was able to help her through that time. The compliments went both ways, as Joe called her “so damn tough and loyal.” Dr. Biden assured viewers that “if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours.”

On night three of the DNC, Kamala Harris was historically nominated as the first black and Asian woman to feature on a major presidential ticket. In her speech, Harris told her story of being an immigrant – the daughter of India and Jamaican immigrants – and used it to empathize with so many in a similar situation. She then went after Trump, delving into his moral and ethical flaws: “I know a predator when I see one” she assured. She finished off by speaking about inequities, especially racial ones. “There is no vaccine for racism” she said in a her call to action. “We’ve gotta do the work.”

Later in the night Hillary Clinton spoke, delivering a somber warning against repeating the mistakes made in 2016, when she lost to Donald Trump: “this can’t be another ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ election.” She pleaded for viewers to vote, as was a main theme in throughout the DNC. Lastly, she praised the record breaking amount of women continuing to appear in government, including Senator Harris, but acknowledged the work still to be done.

President Obama’s speech brought something considerably rare for a former president to do: he attacked President Trump. He labeled Trump as blatantly inadequate for the job of president: “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t, and the consequences of that failure are severe.”

The night also featured a performance by Billie Eilish of her new unreleased song “My Future.” It was followed by a message about the importance of voting.

The fourth and final night officially nominated Joe Biden as the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate. In his speech, he covered his policy plans from the coronavirus to guns to Medicare, while also addressing the economic recession caused by the pandemic as well as the racial reckoning going on in the country as a result of inequalities. He also spoke of the and Harris’ personal stories, and how they informed them to be ready for the job. The speech drew acclaim from both parties.

“Here and now I give you my word,” said Biden. “If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”

The Strokes – The New Abnormal

THE STROKES’ THE NEW ABNORMAL OUT NOW VIA CULT/RCA FIRST NEW ALBUM IN SEVEN YEARS

“THE LAST TRUE SPARK OF ROCK & ROLL”- ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

The New Abnormal, the sixth studio album from The Strokes, is out today via Cult/RCA-stream HERE

Of the album, Associated Press raves, “a superb slice of indie rock, varied, exciting and complex, with elements of glam, straight-down-the-line rock and dreamy pop,” while Under the Radar praises, “the most vital and consistent the band has sounded in over a decade.” The band recently debuted a new, ongoing pirate radio series, featuring the five-piece in conversation. Watch HERE.

The New Abnormal features previously shared tracks “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus“, “Bad Decisions“, and “At The Door“.

The music video for “At The Door” premiered during the band’s performance at Senator Bernie Sanders’ University of New Hampshire rally. The album is The Strokes’ first in seven years and was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu and produced by Rick Rubin. The album’s cover artwork is a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bird on Money.

WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER

illustration, 360 MAGAZINE, Alejandra Villagra

Bernie Sanders × ESSENCE.com

In an exclusive op-ed for ESSENCE.com, Sen. Bernie Sanders explains why Black women will benefit from medicare for all. He talks to ESSENCE about:

  • AMERICA’S DYSFUNCTIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: “It is impossible for any rational person to deny that our current healthcare system is dysfunctional and cruel. As a nation, we spend more than twice as much on healthcare as the people of almost every major country on earth while achieving worse outcomes.  Even worse, Black Americans see only a fraction of those sub-par returns.  In America today, Black babies are more than twice as likely to die in infancy than babies born to white mothers, and Black women are three or four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white peers. To change those unacceptable outcomes, it’s important to recognize that maternal health disparities don’t start at pregnancy. They start before mothers are even born…”
  • HOW THE “MEDICARE FOR ALL” BILL WILL BENEFIT BLACK MOTHERS: “In my view, any plan that targets Black maternal health that doesn’t include unequivocal support for a universal healthcare system that is free at the point of delivery is not good enough. The “Medicare For All” Bill I’ve introduced will help prevent Black mothers from being discriminated against as they’re poised to give birth — left laboring in hallways because of their perceived inability to pay. It also means that large numbers of Black Americans who live in southern, Republican-controlled states like Mississippi will no longer have to suffer because local legislators rejected President Obama’s Medicaid expansion. Medicare For All will provide long-term home health care and community-based services for everyone…”
  • HOW AFRICAN-AMERICANS ARE DISADVANTAGED BY AN EMPLOYER-BASED INSURANCE SYSTEM: “In America today, Black employment rates remain disproportionately low due to well-documented employment discrimination, unequal public education, and other systemic biases. While 65 percent of white families receive insurance through their employer, only 46 percent of Black families do, which in part explains why the uninsured rate for Black Americans is 11 percent – over 50% higher than that of white Americans…”

For more on this piece, visit ESSENCE.com

Will Candidates Talk About Disability at the Debates?

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becoming law. The ADA was intended to ensure that people with disabilities could earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else. With the Democratic candidates debating this week in Detroit, the question remains if any of the candidates will address the one-in-four adults in the U.S. who have a disability from the debate stage.

Just 12 of the 20 Democratic candidates debating this week made any mention of the ADA anniversary on Friday.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden tweeted that he was “proud to have cosponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act” and thanked Sen. Harkin for his “vision & persistence” to ensuring its passage, “a critical step in the fight for equal rights for people with disabilities.” Biden also talked about his own stutter, tweeting that his parents taught him “that being different is no barrier to success.”

“Today, on the Act’s anniversary, we must recommit to fully breaking down barriers so everyone has the opportunity to succeed—no matter their zip code, income, race, or disability,” Biden also tweeted. “As president, I’ll ensure everyone’s treated with dignity and respect.”

The Biden campaign also unveiled a new page on its website devoted to people with disabilities, joining the Sanders and Booker campaign in being the third campaign to do so. His plans, so far, include ensuring that children with disabilities “get the education and training they need to succeed;” protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid; training police departments for interactions for people with mental illness, autism or who are deaf “so misunderstanding does not lead to incarceration;” and to ensure people with mental health problems “are provided with the housing or other social services they may need.”

Cory Booker

Cory Booker, who also has a page on his website devoted to equality for people with disabilities, tweeted “We have more to do to ensure equality for Americans with disabilities who still face high poverty rates & barriers to health care & quality of life. As president, I’ll fight for equal rights & inclusion for people with disabilities.”

“As president, Cory will work to ensure accessibility, equality, and opportunity for all people with disabilities,” his website states, including, “break down barriers to accessing employment, transportation, housing, and health care with the Disability Integration Act; fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and raise wages for people with disabilities by phasing out the subminimum wage.”

The Booker campaign also has a new accessibility policy on its website. “Cory 2020 is dedicated to offering a quality online experience to those with disabilities,” it states. “Cory 2020 is working to achieve substantial conformance with generally-recognized and accepted guidelines for website accessibility… The website will continue to be assessed on a recurring basis in an effort to substantially comply with these guidelines.”

This is important as a study last month by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that none of the 2020 presidential candidates have websites that fully comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Just a few days following this study, the Booker campaign had an hour-long phone call with RespectAbility detailing steps they could take to become more accessible – on their website as well as via social media, at events, etc.

Steve Bullock

“29 years ago today, the ADA began to tear down the walls preventing them from the fair shot they deserve,” Steve Bullock tweeted.

The Montana Governor also talked about his work as governor. “I fought for folks with disabilities to receive equal wages and work without discrimination — but we have a long way to go,” he tweeted. “On the anniversary of the ADA, we must all recommit to ensuring a fair shot for every American. As President, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”

Montana now ranks 8th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 31,935 of the 69,553 working-age (18-64) Montanans with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Montana has maintained a 45.9 percent disability employment rate from 2017 to 2018.

Julián Castro

“For 29 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped defend the rights of disabled Americans,” Julián Castro tweeted. “It is integral to building an inclusive, fair, and just nation and as president, I will defend and strengthen it.”

In a series of additional tweets, Castro outlined his People First policies, including “fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act,” strengthening housing protections, and fixing the system that leads to disabled people being killed by police.

“There’s so much more that needs to be done to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities, and I am committed to that cause,” he closed.

Kirsten Gillibrand

“29 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act codified protections against discrimination based on disability,” Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted. “My presidency will advance this fight, including having disability community representation in my Cabinet. Let’s keep working to make our society accessible for all.”

In May, Gillibrand made news with a new commitment of having someone with a disability in her Cabinet. The issue of hiring staff with disabilities on the campaign has been addressed by two other presidential candidates: Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg. Both of them have promised to hire campaign staff with disabilities, and O’Rourke promised to hire them to positions of leadership on the campaign and, if he wins, in the Oval Office. Buttigieg already has followed through with his promise of hiring a person with a disability on his campaign staff.

One month later, in response to a question posed to all of the viable 2020 presidential candidates by RespectAbility, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities, Gillibrand’s campaign has pledged to not only “make accommodations to enable staff with a disability to perform their job without undue hardship” but also “to make volunteer opportunities inclusive and encourage creative solutions to allow people with disabilities to be an active part of our team.”

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, who held an hour-long call with her supporters on this topic on Friday, wrote a blog post “recommitting to build an America that is fully inclusive and accessible for everyone,” noting that there is still a lot of work to do 29 years later.

She called for ensuring all people with disabilities receive the minimum wage or higher; equal access to educational opportunities for children with disabilities; and “access to quality health care and community supports and services.”

“As the former Attorney General of California, I know the impact that strong enforcement of civil rights laws can have on the lives of Americans,” she wrote. “That’s why I will appoint an Attorney General who prioritizes enforcement of the ADA, and all disability civil rights laws, and will double the size of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to ensure we have the resources to back up that commitment.”

Harris also unveiled her campaign’s Americans with Disabilities Leadership Council, which “will work closely with my team and me throughout this campaign to take on the issues that are most important to Americans with disabilities.”

Amy Klobuchar

“The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 29 years ago today, ensuring accessibility for all Americans and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability,” Amy Klobuchar tweeted. “It changed millions of lives and we’re a better nation because of it.”

Disability is personal to Klobuchar. When her daughter was born, she could not swallow for the first two years of her life. “Many Minnesotans know a family or a person who has been affected by a disability,” she wrote in 2015. “For a lot of us, this is personal. … [D]uring those two years, I was able to see through the eyes of a parent of a child who was struggling, and I know that, like me, the parents of children with disabilities want what is best for their families — both now and for the years to come.”

Beto O’Rourke

“The ADA is a landmark law—but recently, it has been under attack,” Beto O’Rourke tweeted. “29 years after its passage, let’s build a country where Americans with disabilities have full access to education, opportunity, and the workforce, are treated with dignity, and can live to their full potential.”

Disability is personal to O’Rourke. His 38-year-old younger sister, Erin, has intellectual and developmental disabilities. She grew up in public special education classrooms in and around El Paso, TX and currently lives in a community for intellectually disabled adults. He is close to his sister and instructs his aides that “unless he’s in an interview,” he will stop everything to take her frequent calls. “Some longtime El Pasoans credit O’Rourke’s family with always proudly including Erin in all activities,” the Dallas News reported. What’s more, O’Rourke regularly mentions Erin on the campaign trail when discussing disability issues, particularly when it comes to education.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders called for recommitting to “championing the rights of people with disabilities,” citing a “moral responsibility.”

“We must guarantee people with disabilities the right to live in the community; truly integrated employment that pays a living wage; affordable, accessible housing; and the right to health care, including mental health care and home and community based services and supports,” he tweeted, following up with a tweet calling to get rid of “waiting lists and means tests.”

As he did in 2016, his campaign has a dedicated page on their website for disability issues. While some of the other campaigns have pages on mental health, the Sanders campaign was the first 2020 campaign to have a dedicated page on disability rights on their website.

“We need a president who will champion expanding the rights of people with disabilities,” his website reads. “Despite the progress that has been made over the past two decades, we unfortunately still live in a world where people with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and where the civil rights of people with disabilities are not always protected and respected. People with disabilities experience much higher poverty rates than people without disabilities. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all Americans have the support they need to live with dignity.”

It also is important to note that people with disabilities are included on his page outlining his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. One of his organizational priorities, for example, is “increasing engagement of communities of color, women, those with disabilities, and all people historically shut out of electoral and caucus processes.”

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren tweeted several statements, the first of which she spoke about her first job out of college – “teaching students with speech and learning disabilities at a public school.” She witnessed firsthand how the ADA changed the lives of the children in her classroom.

“It not only helped dismantle prejudices about Americans with disabilities, it recognized their right to live, work, and love independently,” she tweeted. Yet, she said, there is more work to be done. “As I celebrate the ADA today, I’m committing to continue the fight to protect these rights every step of the way.”

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson’s Instagram post and Tweet have come under fire from many in the disability community for insensitive language and her focus on visiting a sheltered workshop in Las Vegas that pays its disabled employees less than a dollar an hour. On Monday afternoon, her Instagram post was edited, removing any reference to Opportunity Village but not removing the phrase “differently abled,” a term the disability community does not use to describe themselves.

In her Instagram post, Williamson calls for people with disabilities being able to access “all educational and training programs,” including preparing children for with disabilities for “post-secondary education” and increasing funding for assistive technology.

Andrew Yang

“For 29 years Americans with disabilities have had a greater sense of dignity and respect,” Andrew Yang tweeted. “More work to be done but my family is thankful for the ADA.”

Yang is the father of two sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. The issues of early intervention and erasing stigma for people with autism is not just important to him. It’s personal. He believes so much in his Autism Intervention Program and Funding that he discusses them in person and on his website.

On his campaign website, he writes, “One of my boys is on the autism spectrum—I know how invaluable resources and intervention can be, particularly if adopted early on. Families struggle with this in very personal ways. As a country, we should provide ample resources to parents to be able to intervene to support the development of children with autism or who are exceptional in other ways. Many of these children have something unique to offer.”

Donald Trump

Current President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in 2020, also commemorated the anniversary.

“Today, we renew our commitment to empowering Americans with disabilities through equal access so they can achieve their full potential, and we celebrate their contributions to our great Nation,” Trump said in a proclamation. “The more than 61 million Americans who are currently living with disabilities are part of the fabric of our Nation, and the ADA helps eliminate barriers to their full participation in every community across the country.  We are grateful for the ADA for helping to foster a vibrant culture of inclusivity in our Nation.”

Trump noted that the employment rate for people with disabilities has been growing recently.

“My Administration continues to encourage hiring individuals with disabilities, including through our Multi-Agency Task Force on Improving Employment for People with Disabilities,” he said in the proclamation, citing an Executive Order to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all, including people with disabilities. “This action has helped bring reforms to ineffective training and workforce development programs, better enabling Americans with disabilities to develop in-demand skills for a wide range of industries.”

Importance of the Disability Vote

“More than half of Americans with disabilities have reached out to their elected officials or attended a political rally in the recent past versus 39 percent of Americans without a disability or any disability connection,” said former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett, citing a recent poll. Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the board chair of RespectAbility.

According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.

Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities. Therefore, as the 2020 candidates take to the debate stage, it is in the best interest of every presidential candidate and the citizens of this country for candidates to recognize disability issues at this time.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said, “Both including people with disabilities in your campaign and talking about this demographic at town halls and debates is the right thing to do but you don’t have to do it because it’s just the right thing to do. It also is the smart thing to do.”

Eight candidates did not publicly celebrate the ADA through a statement on their website or social media. These candidates include: Michael Bennet; Pete Buttigieg; Bill de Blasio; John Delaney; Tulsi Gabbard; John Hickenlooper; Jay Inslee; and Tim Ryan.

“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” added Bartlett. “People with disabilities are politically active swing voters, and candidates should take note of the important issues they care about.”

Additional research conducted by Eric Ascher and Ariella Barker.

RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.