Trump-Free Friday Politics Roundup


Here’s what’s been happening in politics beyond the 45th President’s Twitter account. Turns out, there’s a whole other world out there.

As always, plenty has happened this week in the world of politics. Let’s see what’s been going on just beyond a certain stubby-fingered man’s white-knuckled grip on his Twitter account.

Shooting On Champs-Elysees In Paris

While locations such as Syria and Iraq, suffer through bombings, shootings, and more on a near-constant basis, France has its own woes as well. In recent memory, France has dealt with the Charlie Hebdo shootings, the November 2015 attacks, and a more recent July attack in Nice. Now, we must also add to the list a shooting on the famous Champs-Elysees boulevard.

On Thursday evening, a currently unidentified assailant targeted a police vehicle on the Champs-Elysees, firing on the officers inside. One officer is dead, while two other individuals are seriously wounded. The assailant himself was also fatally shot.

The Islamic State soon took responsibility for the attack, sending French citizens in the capital into hiding from further harm.

The attack happened only three days before the beginning of the French elections. Presidential candidates wasted little time in establishing their stances. Francois Fillon said that the election should be suspended. All of the top three presidential candidates have since canceled upcoming events related to their campaigns.

Far-right Marine Le Pen took the opportunity to further her anti-Islamic views, which included closing all “Islamist” mosques in the country. Emmanuel Macron, a centrist and currently the leading candidate, warned against panic, saying “we must not yield to fear today”.

Georgia Congressional Election Goes To A Runoff – And Why You Should Care

When now-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price took office, he also left a vacant House seat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Now, the resulting election and impending runoff vote have given Republicans there pause.

Challenger Jon Ossoff, a former congressional staffer and documentary filmmaker, narrowly missed the 50 percent vote that would have won him the election outright. Rather, Ossoff garnered 48.3 percent of the vote in his prospective district.

His campaign will now work towards a June 20 runoff election with his Republican opponent, Karen Handel. She drew about 11 percent of the vote, a considerable result considering that the first election featured 11 different Republican candidates. Handel was previously Georgia’s Secretary of State.

This is all very surprising, given that Republicans have held the district for decades. In fact, Tom Price won reelection there with 62 percent of the vote. Democrats and others are taking this near-miss as a sign that public sentiment may be slowly turning against Republican politics.

It’s also important to note that the 6th District is based in an affluent suburb north of Atlanta. Its highly-educated, upper-middle class voters may easily go either left or right, politically speaking, and therefore make it a possible swing district.

Whether or not Republicans should be afraid is unclear. An earlier election in Kansas was close enough to shake previously confident members of the GOP, though it was ultimately won by a Republican. However, thanks to big GOP wins in 2010 and subsequent redistricting (or gerrymandering, as the case may be), it will be mightily difficult for Democrats to flip Congressional seats during the 2018 elections. This is, at its best, a cautious victory.

French Elections Begin This Weekend

While we’re on the topic of elections, turn your attention towards France. As John Oliver and many others have pointed out, whoever becomes the next president there could make or break the European Union.

Emmanuel Macron, the progressive candidate, currently leads in the polls. He is unlikely to upset the delicate balance of the European Union. The EU has already begun the drawn-out process of the U.K.’s “Brexit”, which has proven to be a major blow to the coalition.

However, the far-right Marine Le Pen is close behind. If Le Pen were to win, France may very well withdraw from the EU. It would then likely spell doom for the beleaguered European Union. Even if she does not win the presidency, Le Pen’s National Front party has already gained a significant foothold in France. The impact of populist politics, both in France and beyond, is not to be underestimated.

Bill O’Reilly Kicked Off Fox News

Is this technically politics? Do we really care? After all the terrible news that the political world throws at us every week, let’s just take a moment to rejoice that Bill O’Reilly is off the air.

O’Reilly rose to talk show fame, in part because he had latched onto the Fox News rhetoric like that weird fish that eats the slime off the side of your fish tank. He subsequently reigned as the quasi-king of conservative commentators for two decades. His show, The O’Reilly Factor, was one of the most popular offerings on the network. However, mounting charges of sexual harassment, plus evidence that previous charges had been hushed up, have now shuttered his business.

Who knows when he’ll rear back into our public consciousness like a chthonic nightmare, but, for now, take your brief moments of happiness when and where you can. Sometimes, even if only for a moment, bad people get what they truly deserve.

And, Finally, A Palate Cleanser

Hey, remember Google Earth? Of course, you may already be an avid user of the platform. It’s best used to spend hours upon hours exploring the various nooks and crannies of our planet.

It used to be that you were forced to download a separate program to enjoy Google Earth. Now, however, you need only a web browser and a decent internet connection to while away the hours. Certainly, after reviewing some of the major news stories this week, you may want to virtually run away. We don’t blame you.

Next: Stephen Colbert Strikes Again with a Take Down of Bill O’Reilly

While you’re cruising around our planet, consider stopping in at some of the most remote places on the globe. It’s unlikely that many of us will find the time to visit Whittier, Alaska or the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, Australia in real life.

However, both are only a few clicks away online.