In the past we’ve written about the role of science and scientists in politics, and suggested that more people with scientific and technical training should think about seeking elective office. The results of the 2012 election indicate that science issues may have played a role in some Congressional races.
Four of the five House members that the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has called the “Flat Earth Five” seem likely to lose their re-election bids following a $1.5 million LCV campaign against the prominent climate change deniers. As of mid-day on 7 October, voters had returned Dan Banishek, (R-Michigan) to office, but by a narrow margin. Francisco Canseco (R-Texas) and Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) had been defeated. And Dan Lungren (R-California) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) were trailing their challengers but had not conceded.
Also, as our sister blog notes, physicist Bill Foster (D-Illinois) was re-elected to Congress by a wide margin with the help of scientists from across the nation who donated almost $400,000 to his campaign.
Does this mean that large numbers of scientists should abandon the lab for the campaign trail? Not necessarily. But we think it shows that voters in many parts of the country welcome straight talk on scientific issues. And who’s better equipped to give it to them than scientists?