Breaking a tradition that goes back to 1812. We’ll let NPR tell it:
The editorial acknowledges the difficulties that all countries face in coping with the coronavirus. And it notes that some deaths are unavoidable in a pandemic. But in the U.S., the authors say, “we have failed at almost every step,” from having adequate protective gear to a problematic approach to testing and contact tracing to a failure to follow basic precautions such as wearing face masks.
“In much of the country, people simply don’t wear masks, largely because our leaders have stated outright that masks are political tools rather than effective infection control measures,” the editorial states.Bill Chappell, “In Rare Step, Esteemed Medical Journal Urges Voters To Oust Trump” at NPR
But now, let’s do a thought experiment. Doubtless, the science journal editors believe that Trump will be defeated and they will claim some credit for that. Fair enough.
But it’s possible that Trump will be reelected. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all served two terms each. And Trump won the last election despite all the polls that announced he would lose. Should that happen, the journal editors will be in the unhappy position of being widely seen to be ignored. Which is why their predecessors didn’t go there. We shall see.
See also: Science writer mourns the slow suicide of science. Alex Berezow: “Political partisanship. There was a time when scientists knew better than to deal in politics. That time is now gone. Openly cheering for one side of the political spectrum over the other, scientists and science media outlets are gambling with their reputation.”