Biden endorsed by Scientific American

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“Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.” So wrote the editors of Scientific American in their October 2020 edition.
The prestigious US magazine, which attracts 5.5 million unique readers to its website each month, urges them to “vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.”

Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic caused Scientific American to speak out.

However, it is clear that the decision is as much a denouncement of the incumbent president as an endorsement of his Democratic rival. The editorial statement devotes seven lengthy paragraphs to Trump’s failures, but only three to Biden’s strengths.

Although Trump has openly denied the existence and effects of climate change, it was his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that caused Scientific American to speak out.

“The most devastating example of Trump [rejecting science] is his dishonest and inept response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives.” “The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the US.” It is not uncommon for newspapers and magazines to endorse political candidates, although there is little evidence that endorsements have much influence on election outcomes. In the last election, 57 of the US’s 100 largest newspapers endorsed Hillary Clinton, while only two endorsed Donald Trump.

There is little evidence that endorsements have much influence on election outcomes.


The endorsement of Biden by Scientific American is nevertheless notable because of the magazine’s history of remaining separate from politics, and the specificity of its reasoning. The editorial concludes: “it’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.”

In breaking its political silence, Scientific American has made one thing clear: there is no such thing as apolitical science. Science is shaped by government policies, funding opportunities, and public support, all of which are, in turn, shaped by current affairs. Whatever the outcome of the presidential election, Scientific American will certainly be remembered for its bold defence of evidence-based policy making.

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One thought on “Biden endorsed by Scientific American

  • Bold is an surely an understatement! Standing against the majority right-wing academic community in favour of the limping underdog is about the greatest display of courage imaginable!!!

    Oh, hangabout…

    Reply

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