Right Turn: What do the results of the U.S. election mean for science?

Author: Stacey Johnson, 11/09/16

This isn’t the blog that I planned to write this week, but I’m so preoccupied with the outcome of the U.S. election, I’m finding it hard to focus on anything else right now. So, let’s look at the implications of a Trump presidency on science.

An article in Nature quotes Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., saying: “Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had. The consequences are going to be very, very severe.”

Neal Lane, who was President Bill Clinton’s White House science adviser and led the National Science Foundation, is stunned at the thought of Trump in the Oval Office. “Trump’s election does not bode well for science or most anything else of value.”

The truth is that we just don’t know his stance on science, apart from his position that climate change is a Chinese hoax. Trump has been short on policy during the campaigning and hasn’t really made his views on science known. Perhaps you can glean some inkling of his positions from this 2016 science debate with the presidential candidates. Or not. According to STAT, Pete Wehner says Trump’s command of policy is “less than a centimeter deep.”

Regarding his position on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest funder of medical research in the United States (and the world, according to them), Trump’s view is a negative one. “I hear so much about the NIH, and it’s terrible.”

Tellingly, Trump’s Vice President-elect, Mike Pence of Indiana, calls himself a Christian conservative, who, like his boss, questions the validity of climate change, may or may not believe in evolution and has criticized President Obama for supporting embryonic stem cell research. He does, however, support research using induced pluripotent stem cells.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Trump does when he’s in office. In the meantime, SciQ’s Jayde Lovell, imaginary press secretary for President Trump, leaves us with this Monty Python parody to ponder.

 

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
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