This is something I wonder about off-an-on; with Happy Birthday, Charles! The Phytophactor has now put clearly the “doom” version:
There was a time in this country when policy was debated, but then politicians found out it was easier to deny the science rather than debate policy, and now the people who do the science are being demonized. If these ideologues have their way the USA will fall even further under the sway of fundamentalist theocrats, and thus our society will begin to converge on that of Islamic countries charging forward into the past, the distant past, the Dark Ages, at a time when fewer and fewer realize that embracing science is one of the few avenues to maintaining any type of competitive advantage internationally.
It does seem to me that the advantages of science are long-term, and that politicians (and not just politicians) find more advantage in denying science short-term (and this includes the odd folk over in WUWT-land, who actually think they are doing Blog Science, so are not anti-science in principle, indeed they think – possibly even honestly, some of them – that they are defending science. But they are deluded). Without long-sighted people in power / authority, I can’t really see why the long-term stuff should win out.