Scientific American, the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the country, just endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in its 175-year history — and it chose Joe Biden.
The editorial board said Tuesday there was something about this year that made it “compelled to do so. We do not take this lightly,” reads its statement, to be published in the magazine’s October issue. The magazine’s editors cite science, and the current administration’s dismissal and doubt of it, as the push needed to make the historic decision.
“The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people — because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September,” the statement reads. “He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.”
The magazine says Trump “did not develop a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing or clear health guidelines” — among other public health plans — and continuously downplayed the virus.
Outside of the pandemic, Scientific American says Trump’s repeated attempts to remove the Affordable Care Act, “proposed billion-dollar cuts” to national research agencies and denials of climate change were putting millions of Americans at risk.
On the other hand, Biden “comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making,” the magazine said.
The editors also noted that Biden wants to create a Public Health Job Corps of 100,000 people to serve as contact tracers, direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to prevent deadly COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, and spend $34 billion to help schools navigate education amid the pandemic (Trump threatened to keep money away from school districts that did not reopen).
Other editorial boards of publications that communicate science are also stepping in to unveil political opinions as they pertain to the future of public health and research.
Last week, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals published an article titled “Trump lied about science” after Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward revealed he recorded the president admitting the coronavirus is “deadly” and that he “wanted to always play it down,” as he tweeted that SARS-CoV-2 was just the “common flu.”
”Over the years, this page has commented on the scientific foibles of U.S. presidents. Inadequate action on climate change and environmental degradation during both Republican and Democratic administrations have been criticized frequently,” Holden Thorp wrote. “But now, a U.S. president has deliberately lied about science in a way that was imminently dangerous to human health and directly led to widespread deaths of Americans.”
“This may be the most shameful moment in the history of U.S. science policy,” he added.
Other science publications have shared similar concerns
In May, a renowned medical journal that’s been around since the 1800s called The Lancet suggested Americans should not vote for Trump this upcoming election based on his ongoing doubt and manipulation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s “flagship agency,” McClatchy News previously reported.
Science magazines and publications also warned of early signs of Trump’s cold shoulder to science, such as his claim that the Chinese created the “concept” of global warming and that vaccinations cause autism from “1 massive dose” back in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
WIRED magazine endorsed Hilary Clinton for the 2016 presidential election — its first endorsement ever. It said Clinton would “uphold the Paris Agreement on climate change,” which Trump pulled out of in June 2017, and increase the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, for which Trump proposed budget cuts.
The journal Nature also endorsed Clinton in 2016 .
“Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote,” the Scientific American statement reads. “It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.”