Top 5 in Politics: May 7th-May 12th
Credit: Yes I'm Right
1. Presidential upset in France
Two candidates, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, had their eyes on the presidential seat in France. Macron was the liberal-centrist choice, while Le Pen represented the conservative-nationalist movement. The first round of elections was tight between the two, but May 7th proved an overwhelming victory for Macron with 66% of the vote.
Even more stunning is the amount of people who refrained from voting: around 25%. Many anticipated a global movement towards nationalism and secure borders spurred by the election of President Donald Trump. However, the opposite appears to be true.
France is just one of several European nations that favor a more liberal route, and South Korea has adopted a more liberal leader as well. Le Pen was President Trump’s favorite for the race, but congratulations were given to Macron in spite of this. Meetings between the two are said to occur in late May.
2. More troops deployed to Afghanistan
There are 8,400 troops in Afghanistan today, and military advisers want to add another three thousand to the mix. President Trump has few words to say on the subject. After being in Afghanistan for 16 years, President Trump notes that his main goal is to defeat ISIS, and by not announcing his plans for Afghanistan he hopes to keep them on their toes.
The proposal, at least for the moment, has no action attached to it. The goal would be for NATO allies to help with troops in addition to American support.
The war in Afghanistan against the Taliban has reached a stalemate. Former President Obama’s no-combat role in Afghanistan is being upheld as of right now, though that may change in the next few weeks after a NATO summit on May 25th.
3. FBI Director Comey fired
Director Comey was fired on Tuesday, May 9th, with President Trump arguing that he wants someone who will do a better job. In general, the right-leaning media supports him, and many Republicans understand the decision.
However, the left-leaning media is tearing him apart. Several news outlets are comparing him to former President Nixon, who fired the people prosecuting him for Watergate. Many believe that investigating President Trump’s ties with the Russian hacking was the reason Comey was fired.
Reportedly, Comey asked for extra resources to be allocated towards the election tampering said to be done by Russia. A spokesperson for the Justice Department denies that popular sentiment, saying it is “100% false". Basically, President Trump says he just wants a better director, the media reports that Comey wanted to look into the president more, the Justice Department denies that, and many call for an independent investigator in all of this.
4. Moon Jae-In Inaugurated
With the inauguration of Moon Jae-In as the new leader of South Korea, the relationship between the United States and North Korea is set to shift a bit. Moon wants peace between the Koreas, which is starkly different from his predecessor. Talks of continuing a Sunshine Policy created in the previous administration have been taking place, but while the North Korea-South Korea relationship is hoped to ease, tensions with the United States are feared to rise.
North Korea has been adding to its nuclear arsenal, creating missiles that heighten the already poor relations between North Korea and the United States. With South Korea’s focus on peace, the new THAAD (terminal area high altitude defense) systems that the United States placed in South Korea are being questioned. Whether those defensive measures will be allowed to stay is uncertain, but no action has been taken yet.
5. GOP Healthcare bill
Overall, the biggest change between the two health care plans is that Medicaid coverage will be lessened. This will affect those with disabilities, those in nursing homes, people using mental health services, and the working poor the most. Other prevalent changes include a year-long block on Planned Parenthood reimbursements and less coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
Jimmy Kimmel has sparked controversy by bringing up his son’s heart condition and noting that all Americans deserve the care that was given to his son. Another controversy peaking with this health care bill is the 13-man Senate group chosen to draft changes. The idea that an all-male team is making alterations to a health care bill that has some key women’s issues at heart irritates many.
Senator Collins notes that her expertise would be useful, but that the leaders have the right to choose who they may. She will still be able to voice her opinion before voting, is prepared to do so. The House already passed the bill, so the Senate needs 50 “yes” votes to ratify.