Science and Democracy

The partnership between science and democracy has played a huge role in U.S. history. But misinformation and attacks on science have strained that partnership. UCS science and democracy experts keep you informed on the latest developments, from Capitol Hill to local communities.


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Latest Science and Democracy Posts

Photo: Denise Cross Photography/Flickr

The Science of Voting Rights + An Interview with Matt Dunlap

, Kendall Science Fellow

When Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap agreed to serve on President Trump’s “Election Integrity” commission, election scholars, myself included, roundly criticized him for legitimizing a nakedly partisan attempt to indulge the President’s fantasies about why he failed to win the popular vote. Mr. Dunlap’s pursuit of transparency is a crucial example of how a commitment to science-based policy and integrity can protect citizens from government agencies betraying the public interest. In early February, I sat down with Dunlap for an extended interview. We discussed his decision to serve, his experience as a member of the Commission, and the events that led to his lawsuit against the Commission. Read more >

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President Trump and French President Macron review troops during the Bastille Day parade last July.

There Are Better Things in France for Trump to Emulate Than a Military Parade

, senior writer

President Trump was so impressed by the military parade he saw in Paris on Bastille Day last July that he ordered the Pentagon to plan a bigger one for Washington, D.C.

“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters when he met with French President Emmanuel Macron in New York in September for the opening of the UN General Assembly. “It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France. We’re going to have to try to top it.”

Of course Trump wants to top it. All things Trump are always “huge,” from his inauguration day crowd to his nuclear button to his tax cut. But if the president really wants to outdo France, below are some tremendous French things that the United States would do well to emulate. Read more >

White House
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And Then They Came for the Social Scientists

, research scientist, Center for Science and Democracy

While the Trump administration’s war on science has been well-documented on issues such as climate change, there are now some signals that this administration may ramp up attacks on social science. Read more >

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Pennsylvania’s New Congressional Map is Fair, But Reveals Fundamental Tradeoffs in Institutional Choice

, Kendall Science Fellow

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released its much-awaited Congressional redistricting plan to replace a 2012 Republican-drawn plan which it recently ruled to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The new plan is unquestionably more fair, ensuring at least two more seats for Democratic voters who currently hold only 5 of Pennsylvania’s 18 seats, despite composing about half of the statewide electorate. However, the new plan, and others proposed over the last week, reveal a fundamental limitation of our electoral system that should concern not just the Democratic Party, but anyone concerned about political equality. Read more >

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Photo: US Department of Energy

Court To Decide Fate Of EPA’s Chemical Disaster Rule

, senior policy and legal analyst, Clean Vehicles

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging a 20-month delay EPA Administrator Pruitt put on standards designed to prevent accidents at facilities that use or store hazardous chemicals. On March 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hold a public oral hearing on this case, which pits environmental justice communities, scientists, public health advocates, and others against the EPA – whose very mission is to protect public health.

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