Editorial in Nature:
In March 2011, this publication suggested that the US Congress seemed lost in the “intellectual wilderness”. The Republicans had taken over the House of Representatives, and one of the early acts of the chamber’s science committee was to approve legislation that denied the threat of climate change. As it turns out, this was just one tiny piece of a broader populist movement that was poised to transform the US political scene. Judging by the current presidential campaign, when it comes to reason, decency and use of evidence, much of the country’s political system seems to have lost its way. Is there anything left to say about the unsuitability of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate? Even senior figures of his own party have disowned him. The latest revelations about his sordid attitude and behaviour towards women only confirm what was obvious to many from the very beginning: Trump is a demagogue not fit for high office, or for the responsibilities that come with it.
Will the centre hold? Will the United States elect its first female president, Hillary Clinton? It should do. And not just because she is not Donald Trump. Clinton is a quintessential politician — and a good one at that. She has shown tremendous understanding of complex issues directly relevant to Nature’s readers, and has engaged with scientists and academics. Take health: as first lady, she led attempts to expand health care in the early years of her husband Bill Clinton’s presidency. She supported the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which reaches millions of poor children. She championed women’s rights, and as secretary of state made global health a priority through the Global Health Initiative, a framework to coordinate various US programmes. Clinton may not have the outsider appeal of a newcomer. But few politicians with her degree of experience and pragmatism do. She is arguably the best-qualified presidential candidate for two decades.