Scientific American backs Joe Biden in first ever endorsement


Published: 12:19 BST, 16 September 2020 | Updated: 16:00 BST, 16 September 2020

The magazine Scientific American has backed Joe Biden for president, saying it felt ‘compelled’ to choose sides in a presidential election for the first time in its 175-year history. 

Editor-in-chief Laura Helmuth said Donald Trump had been far worse for the scientific community than the magazine feared in 2016, when it did not endorse Hillary Clinton. 

An editorial published on Tuesday lambasted Trump for mishandling the coronavirus pandemic, questioning the science of climate change and cutting budgets for science and disease prevention.  

‘The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the United States and its people because he rejects evidence and science,’ senior editor Josh Fischman wrote. 

Democratic nominee Joe Biden (pictured in Delaware on Monday) has won the backing of Scientific American magazine ahead of the November election 

The publication said it felt ‘compelled’ to jump off the fence in a presidential election for the first time in its 175-year history 

The magazine’s endorsement was posted online on Tuesday, a day after Trump questioned the science of climate change in relation to California’s wildfires. 

Helmuth said the timing was coincidental and the science magazine’s editorial was written during the past two months. 

She added that the magazine had not ignored politics in its long history – having had 3,000 copies burned by the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s because of its stance on the hydrogen bomb.   

In 2016 the magazine wrote an editorial questioning Trump’s fitness to be president, although it did not endorse Clinton.

‘Part of our magazine’s mission is to show people how the world works – whether it’s black holes, evolution, viruses, or systemic racism,’ Helmuth said.

‘We felt it was our duty as part of that mission to warn people that Trump has been disastrous for research, science, health and the environment.’ 

The editorial berated Trump for failing to develop a testing strategy during the pandemic, scorning the use of masks and feuding with top adviser Anthony Fauci. 

‘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 said.  

‘At every stage, Trump has rejected the unmistakable lesson that controlling the disease, not downplaying it, is the path to economic reopening and recovery.’

The magazine berated Trump for questioning the science of climate change, blamed by state governors for the current West Coast wildfires (pictured, a blaze in Oroville, California)

The US has by far the largest outbreak in the world with more than 6.5million confirmed cases and 194,000 deaths from Covid-19. 

Aside from coronavirus, the magazine slammed Trump for proposing cuts to scientific programs and pulling the US out of the Paris climate change accords. 

‘In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled US preparations for climate change,’ the article says.  

By contrast, Democratic nominee Joe Biden ‘has a record of following the data and being guided by science’, the magazine said. 

Biden’s campaign says that ‘climate change poses an existential threat’ and ‘puts our national security at risk’. 

The former vice president has called for a ‘clean energy revolution’ with a target of achieving net-zero admissions by the year 2050.  

On Monday, Trump was confronted during a California wildfires briefing about the need to address climate change – and responded that the Earth would get cooler.

The magazine lambasted Trump (pictured) for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused more deaths in the US than anywhere else in the world 

‘I wish science agreed with you,’ responded Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have all said global warming is priming forests for wildfires as they become hotter and drier.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes as the fast-moving flames turned neighbourhoods to nothing but charred rubble and burned-out cars.

At least 10 people have been killed in Oregon, while 24 have died in California and one person was killed in Washington state. 

Officials say more than 20 people are still missing in Oregon, and the number of deaths is likely to rise as authorities search. 

Trump has said that the states themselves are to blame for failing to rake leaves and clear dead timber from forest floors. 

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