Scientists Are Running For Congress Because "The Future Hangs In The Balance"

Nonprofit political action committee 314 Action is sending scientists to Washington. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Robin Andrews 04 Jun 2017, 20:20

Every social struggle has a tipping point. Progress is normally made at a snail’s pace, but with certain movements – same-sex marriage, racial equality, for example – when push comes to shove, nationwide change can suddenly snap into place.

Fast-forward to 2017. The Trump administration is in power and “Alternative Facts,” climate change denial, and anti-scientific policies are the norm. Scientists have had enough, and in an unprecedented display of solidarity, have decided to run for office on a pro-science platform.

Is this the next tipping point in American society? The group coordinating this effort, 314 Action, thinks it could be.

These rebellious individuals aren’t just running on good speeches, marches, and hope. They have a genuinely good chance at changing the trajectory of the United States – and its founders sat down with IFLScience to talk about how they plan to do so.

“The future really hangs in the balance. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true,” Ted Bordelon, 314 Action’s director of communications, tells us. “When you have an administration this openly hostile to scientific facts, you need to stand up to it – and who better to stand up to it than scientists?”

Congress needs more scientists. Black Russian Studio/Shutterstock

The scientific uprising began in earnest sometime between Trump’s election in November and his inauguration in January of this year. Almost immediately after taking the oath of office, the President’s anti-scientific rhetoric was transformed into devastating action.

Federal scientists were hit with a communications blackout, effectively censoring them. Soon afterwards, a proposed 2018 budget threatened them with draconian, historic funding cuts. Climate change denial was once again in vogue.

Inspired by the Women’s March – the largest demonstration in US history – rogue scientists took their protestations from Twitter to the streets during the global March For Science.

The Resistance – as anti-Trump Americans are often referred to – is a diverse cornucopia of American citizens; it includes people from almost every single demographic. Academics and scientists, however, appear to be one of a few groups that have a practical modus operandi, a plan of action that will force a change in the corridors of power.

In terms of the Resistance, then, this makes 314 Action the tip of the proverbial spear.

“The goal is to bring about change – real change,” Bordelon says.

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