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Is Scientific American right to say this election is a "matter of life and death"?

Is Scientific American right to say this election is a "matter of life and death"?
WRITTEN BY
09/18/20
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Katherine (No)

No election is 'literally' life or death, and Scientific American's statement to the contrary is hyperbolic and irresponsible. Federal policy depends on a system of checks and balances, not the occupant of a single office. In their endorsement of Joe Biden, the editors of the magazine allege Donald Trump cannot be given a second term because, among other things, he tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. This example, though, highlights how difficult it is to make significant policy changes. Even with a Democratic president and a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, the Affordable Care Act almost didn't pass. It was jammed through using the reconciliations process.

The American government was designed to divide and not centralize power, as 'each branch of government is framed so that its power checks the power of the other two branches.' Likewise, the government branches are to remain 'dependent on the people, who are the source of legitimate authority.' Polling suggests there's a good chance Democrats will flip the Senate, giving them control over all of Congress. This means, if Trump wins a second term, there could be more impediments to him than there are now. The Senate votes to approve nominees for vacancies in the judiciary and executive cabinet, which has seen a lot of turnover in the past four years. This mitigates the long-term effects Trump can have on policy. And this says nothing of policy at state and local levels, which is outside the president's control and most directly affects voters' lives. Here, voters have more opportunities to get involved and directly influence policy.


Tyler Carmona (Yes)

Scientific American was accurately forecasting the country's future if Donald Trump is re-elected by referring to this upcoming election as a 'matter of life or death.' The United States now leads the world in confirmed COVID cases and deaths. In states like Florida, Texas, and New York, cases are only increasing. This virus's mishandling can be blamed on Donald Trump, dating back to when he assisted in disbanding much of the United States' Global Health Security & Biodefense unit back in 2018. Trump has demonstrated complete and utter incompetence when handling the deadly virus by claiming it will all 'disappear' like a miracle and referring to the Democrat's critique of his handling of it as a 'hoax.' 

During a point of time where the country is in a whirlwind of despair, Trump aims to divide people in any way possible. During a time where the George Floyd murder was still fresh in American's minds, Trump referred to civil rights protesters as 'angry mobs' with the goal to end America on Independence Day. Just two days later, he accused NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace of creating a hate hoax after discovering what appeared to be a noose in his garage and criticized the organization for banning the Confederate flag.

From 2018 to 2019, right-wing terrorists were responsible for 90% of domestic terror incidents in the United States. These groups have also accounted for 329 killings in the past two decades. Recent civil rights protests have ignited a fire in these groups, especially after Republican President Donald Trump has expressed opposition towards those fighting for their rights. Re-electing Trump will cause tension, involving social issues to reach new heights.

Fact Box

  • In the United States, there have been a total of 6.8 million coronavirus cases, with 202,617 deaths as of September 18.
  • Scientific American endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in its 175-year history. Among their claims of President Trump “[rejecting] evidence and science,” they disapprove of Trump and Pence’s reluctance to dawn masks during the early stages of the pandemic. The magazine says candidate Joe Biden is the obvious choice “offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.“
  • According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 4.6 million acres have burned from 87 active fires in 10 states. 
  • If the 2020 presidential election were held today, the polls would suggest this outcome in the electoral college: 279 Democrat votes for Joe Biden and 131 Republican votes for President Trump.
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