Scientific American Backs Joe Biden, First Presidential Endorsement in 175-Year History

Scientific American Backs Joe Biden, First Presidential Endorsement in 175-Year History

The controversial break with tradition shows how the magazine is thinking about this election.

Scientific American, a respected science magazine, endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden Tuesday, marking it the first time in its 175-year history to stand behind a presidential candidate.

“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,” a letter from the editors noted in the magazine’s October issue.

The editors particularly criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, failing to provide a cohesive, national response, and how the president rejects science to cope with the impacts of the virus.

The editorial dubbed Trump’s “dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic” as just one example of the damage he’s done to the United States, as it’s killed more than 195,000 Americans.

“The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in America. He was warned many times in January and February about the onrushing disease, yet he did not develop a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing or clear health guidelines,” they wrote.

The editors’ concerns also related to Trump’s repeated attempts to nix the Affordable Care Act, as well as his proposed budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all “agencies that increase our scientific knowledge and strengthen us for future challenges.”

“Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives. In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it,” they wrote.

The endorsement comes less than two months until Election Day, with the country battling the novel coronavirus, economic unrest and devastating wildfires across the west coast.

“Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals,” the editors wrote.

The magazine’s endorsement follows Bob Woodward’s release of audio recordings of the president admitting to downplaying the threat of the coronavirus in a series of interviews for the veteran journalist’s new book, “Rage,” an incident that the editors cited in their letter.

“His lies encouraged people to engage in risky behavior, spreading the virus further, and have driven wedges between Americans who take the threat seriously and those who believe Trump’s falsehoods,” they wrote, referring to Woodward’s revelations about Trump.

Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.

Image: Reuters