Many scientists in the US see the overwhelming support for Trump as their failure to connect with the average American
That Trump, despite a presidency marked by outright lies and coloured half-truths, has expanded his support base is a sobering reality for most.
Many in the scientific community in the US, Nature reports, are seeing the vast numbers that Donald Trump has polled in the presidential polls—he had got the highest total votes for any Republican candidate in history—as a sort of referendum on their ‘failure’ to convey to the public the importance of science, facts and research. That Trump, despite a presidency marked by outright lies and coloured half-truths, has expanded his support base is a sobering reality for most.
More so since he had ended his campaign telling cheering supporters that he might fire Anthony Fauci, who has tried to pull pandemic management in the country towards a scientific, measured strategy despite the president’s petulance when advised against his worst impulses on how to respond to the pandemic. Trump, a climate denier, has pulled America out of the Paris accord on climate action, and yet he is cheered by the electorate in a year that saw some of the worst wildfires in the US’s history—the global scientific consensus is that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and intensity of such phenomena. The president even disparaged Democrat candidate Joe Biden, saying that he would “listen to scientists”! An overwhelming number of Americans have shown approval for this thinking, with their votes.
The scientific community sees this as a clear failure in connecting to the average American—indeed, as one of them told Nature, that voters are not ready to buy their message on climate change is clear from the support Trump has received in Florida, a state that is significantly threatened by rising sea levels. But, academics may find it hard to connect with the average American; part of the challenge is they have to beat a showman who doesn’t challenge people to think.