Sunday, May 7, 2017

Week 71: "En Marche!" (May 7, 2017)

Dear Readers,

It has been an eventful week. For all past newsletters (and more), make sure to go to the blog at

En Marche!

Today was the second round of the French election. With polls showing centrist Emmanuel Macron ahead of right-wing National Front leader Marine Le Pen by over 20 points, there was little doubt about what would happen. It took all of ten minutes for Le Pen to concede, and she wound up winning just two of France’s 102 departments and losing by 32 percent. In the choice between boring centrists and anti-immigrant reactionaries, France easily made the choice America, Britain, and the Philippines couldn’t, and one Austria, the Netherlands, and Peru only barely made. Indeed, it’s a sweeping victory for globalization and the establishment, one we haven’t seen in many month, and should be very hopeful for the future of the EU and immigration rights in Europe.
While some have noted the high abstention rate and the fact that Le Pen’s share of the vote was double her father’s in the 2002 runoff as reasons she actually succeeded, a two-to-one election result in a country as large as France is still very rare, and should be recognized as very impressive. Le Pen underperformed the polls in both rounds, and Macron survived a Russian email hack a day before the election.

Another Health Care Bill

Paul Ryan and his House cronies worked hard to quickly pass a new healthcare bill that nobody read. The bill passed by all of 4 votes, with many Republicans in close seats voting against it, and was insulted by pretty much every Republican Senator. Many Republicans who voted for the bill are already feeling pressure about their votes, and none of them are trying to defend it. The bill was passed before the Budget Office could analyze it, and was a very clearly political ploy to erase Obama’s legacy.

Meet Rob Quist

The Montana house seat special election is a couple weeks ago, and as I learn more and more about Democratic candidate Rob Quist, I become more and more impressed. Quist is a country songwriter born in Cut Bank, Montana, with little affiliation to the Democratic party and a very anti-Washington outlook. He’s attacked his opponent (Greg Gianforte) on being a billionaire from New Jersey, with great lines like:
“Here's what my opponent had to say about the health care vote: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But we all know he's a YES, b/c he's for billionaires & not us.” and “We need an independent voice in Congress who will fight for affordable health care—not a bill that's really just a tax cut for millionaires.” (These are from his wonderful Twitter.) He’s also run some great ads that showcase his unique outlook.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to reply or comment!

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