Scientific American has dipped a toe into political waters for the first time in its 175-year history and is endorsing Joe Biden for president.
The science and research publication is publishing the endorsement in a two-page statement in its upcoming October issue.
“Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history,” the editors wrote. “This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.”
As would be expected of a science-focused publication, the editors rested their argument on facts and evidence, concluding that Trump’s rejection of facts and evidence “has badly damaged the U.S. and its people.”
In everything from Trump’s “dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic” to his attacks on “environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges,” Trump’s refusal to make fact-based, data-driven decisions has pushed the U.S. far off course, they argued.
The editorial board highlighted Trump’s pandemic response as a particularly deleterious example of Trump making the health and economic fallout worse ― not better.
The statement noted that, among other failures, the president lied about the severity of the disease, leading many to believe it’s “like the flu,” when in fact he knew it was far more lethal and easily spread; he advocated for less COVID-19 testing when more would have been helpful; he failed to develop a national strategy to procure and allocate PPE, despite having been warned about COVID-19 many times in January and February; and his opposition to masks continues to defy all logic.
As the editors wrote:
If almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Such a strategy would hurt no one. It would close no business. It would cost next to nothing. But Trump and his vice president flouted local mask rules, making it a point not to wear masks themselves in public appearances.
“His administration has been even worse for science than we feared,” Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth told HuffPost in an email. “We couldn’t include all of our objections to his record in two print pages.”
Helmuth stressed that the endorsement isn’t partisan; neither major political party was even mentioned in the explanation. Biden, however, is “the clear choice when you compare the candidates on science, health, the environment and other research-related concerns.”
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