Scientific American has endorsed Joe Biden for president, the first time the venerable science magazine has backed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history.
The endorsement was published in Scientific American's October issue, in which the magazine's editors explained their reasons for publicly supporting Biden, adding that they "do not do this lightly."
They said they were motivated to endorse Biden after seeing how science has been ignored and politicized by President Donald Trump and his administration.
"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 editors wrote in the endorsement. They cited, in particular, the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 195,000 Americans and continues to be a public health emergency.
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The endorsement comes with less than 50 days to go until the U.S. presidential election and as the country juggles multiple crises in addition to the pandemic — a prolonged economic downturn, catastrophic wildfires on the West Coast and an intense Atlantic hurricane season.
The editors said Trump’s failure to develop a national strategy to fight the pandemic helped accelerate the spread of the disease across the country and his misrepresentations of the facts have done even more damage.
“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.
But their concerns went beyond the president’s response to the pandemic and included Trump’s attempts to end the Affordable Care Act, his commitment to dismantling environmental protections and policies, and his proposed cuts in funding to agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden has prioritized climate change throughout his campaign. In July, he unveiled a $2 trillion plan that experts said would put the country on an ambitious path to building a clean energy economy. The plan, which includes the goal of achieving a 100 percent clean electricity standard by 2035, earned high praise from climate scientists and environmental advocates, who said the proposal would also help repair the country's reputation internationally.
Though much of Biden's plan would require approval from Congress, the magazine's editors said the candidate "is acutely aware that we must heed the abundant research showing ways to recover from our present crises and successfully cope with future challenges."
They added that Trump's many attacks on science and the scientific agencies designed to protect the country guided their decision to endorse a presidential candidate for the first time.
"The 2020 election is literally a matter of life and death," they tweeted Tuesday. "We urge you to vote for health, science and Joe Biden for President."