Hillary Clinton, our pro-science candidate
The political conventions have ended and the major political parties have their candidates. Republicans have Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Democrats have Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Both sides will hammer their issues and talking points, but will any candidate stand for science?
Well, one of their four convention acceptance speeches mentioned science as Hillary Clinton proclaimed “I believe in science”. Somehow that’s a radical statement in 2016. Somehow that’s a political statement in 2016. So let’s take a look at how the tickets stack up on science and why Hillary Clinton is our pro-science candidate while Trump is our pro-internet-rumor candidate. On every level from scientific funding, to policy plans, to a grasp of the scientific evidence, she’s the clear choice.
Funding for Science
You don’t hear much about it on the campaign trail, but funding scientific research is critical to the United States economy, military, and public health. Scientists are always worried about getting funding to do their research and reductions or uncertainty can hold up critical work.
We need to be creating the best new technologies here in the U.S. We need to be prepared for outbreaks. Plus, this isn’t even a case of sacrificing on the financial side. Studies show that for every dollar the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends, over two dollars of economic activity is generated (see here, here, and here)
Yet, we’ve failed to keep pace and the NIH budget has consistently been below 2003 levels when adjusted for inflation.
Hillary Clinton understands the benefits of investing in scientific research. She has supported increased funding to the NIH and National Science Foundation (NSF) to find cures and do the basic research that can spur further technology.
Meanwhile Donald Trump said “I hear so much about the NIH, and it’s terrible.” This coming a breath after insinuating that a right-wing radio personality, who believes both autism and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are make believe, would be a good head of the NIH.
Plans for science
Scientific results only become useful to the public as they are accepted and used. Hillary Clinton knows this. Back in 2011 she said that “we need to let science guide our efforts. Success depends on deploying our tools based on the best available evidence.”
On Clinton’s website there are issue pages specifically devoted to technology & innovation, healthcare, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, HIV & AIDS, and climate change. Donald trump has one page on healthcare.
Looking at just one example of Clinton’s issue pages, her factsheet on technology & innovation, you’ll find over 7,000 words (complete with references) detailing her plans to improve the STEM-computer science education pipeline, deliver high speed WiFi, boost high tech exports, and use the best technology to make government more responsive. Each proposal goes into details of the evidence for the policy and how it ties into her other plans for improving America.
Climate Change & the Environment
Climate change threatens our national and global security. There is scientific consensus that change is occurring and human activity is the primary cause. Unfortunately, the work required to responsibly take care of our planet cannot occur while politicians are stuck arguing the basic facts.
If you thought Trump might find a VP candidate with a belief in science, then you’ll be disappointed as the Trump train has rolled right past any respect for science or reason. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, penned an op-ed titled “Global Warming Distaster” that focused not on the disaster of global warming but the treaties that sought to curb it.
On the other side, Hillary Clinton has plans to save the environment. In fact, she has so many proposals that this nice explainer was necessary just for the less wonky among us to understand the scope and level of detail of her approach to address climate change.
Improving our national healthcare will require efforts on many fronts, but it at the very least requires a basic knowledge of the problems. Hillary Clinton has been fighting on a national level to improve healthcare access and quality for all Americans since the ’90s. Trump only addresses public health when feeding into hysteria.
Presidential candidates have been quick to feed the fears about vaccine safety. Even medical doctor Jill Stein used her AMA response on vaccines to rail against the safety regulations. While some have given voice to vague safety concerns, others have been more explicit with their unfounded criticisms.
Only Hillary gave a unequivocal endorsement of the facts on vaccinations to improve public health.
Again, the vice presidential picks stack the argument even more in Clinton’s favor. Trump’s VP pick wrote that “Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill”. He said that smoking does NOT kill, and he wrote it a half century after the science showed the link between smoking and cancer.
Hillary Clinton’s VP choice, Tim Kaine, has as Virginia governor overhauled mental health services, mandated HPV vaccinations to protect against cervical cancer, and banned smoking in most restaurants. She also integrated proposals from Bernie Sanders with her own plan to achieve universal coverage. Her healthcare plans build on decades of experience and bring together the best leaders and ideas to improve the access and treatment options for all Americans.
Hillary Clinton is our pro-science option
The choice is clear. Hillary Clinton formulates plans and policies based on facts and evidence. Her career of taking feedback and turning it into improved policy has earned her a reputation as a wonk and that shouldn’t be an insult.
She says she’s for science, and amazingly, even that’s enough to set her apart from the competition. Our choice is between a well researched textbook on its 3rd edition and a misspelled pamphlet peddling snake oil. So add science to the list of reasons Hillary Clinton needs to be our next president, then vote, volunteer, and donate.