Hillary Clinton’s Progressivism as seen through Disability Policy

In my second piece for Playboy (safe-for-work but might mention the existence of sex in the click throughs), I wrote about the details of Clinton’s disability policy. I wrote:

When Donald Trump took to the stage in South Carolina last November and made fun of a disabled New York Times reporter, he won my vote…for Hillary Clinton.

It wasn’t just that Trump’s behavior was appalling. No, what turned me over to Clinton is that, in the aftermath of Trump’s insult, she began running the most progressive presidential campaign on disability rights issues in U.S. political history. What’s more, once you start looking at her policies across the board, a pattern emerges. Hillary Clinton believes that government can help vulnerable and marginalized individuals. She listens to how such individuals describe their needs and then supports the best policies to meet those needs. It’s a progressive vision worth cheering, but it’s also a truth about her campaign that you might have missed.

So there’s two points here. First, Clinton’s policies are the most progressive in US presidential political history. In the piece I lay out the details of the policy, compare her to Trump’s terrible record (beyond the moment of mocking a disabled reporter last November), and credit the movement for its advances – and, for that matter, the efforts of the Obama administration – as part of the reason Clinton’s plans are so well developed.

It’s worth celebrating having a presidential candidate who talks about community integration, for example. That’s a big deal!

But it’s also worth thinking about what this set of policies say about Clinton’s progressivism more generally. On foreign policy, I find her pretty hawkish, but when it comes to thinking about how the government can serve vulnerable people, I have to say I’ve been impressed. She listens (see Ezra Klein’s interview and Rebecca Traister’s feature on her campaign). She find experts. She develops and supports complex policy solutions to complex problems.

To me, this is what progressivism looks like – a vision of government as helping the most vulnerable achieve equality of opportunity. Not everyone likes progressivism as a governing philosophy, and that’s fine, but this is what it looks like when providing the core philosophy for a presidential campaign’s domestic policy.

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