Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe Dream

French Election, Biden's Lawn

You’d be forgiven for assuming that scenes of crowds cheering in the streets across France were related to some huge soccer win in Euro 2024. But France doesn’t have its semifinal match against Spain until Tuesday. The cheers over the weekend were political exultations of relief as the surging far right fell short in national elections that saw voter turnout at its highest rate in more than 40 years. “After the shock of French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call snap elections last month, another surprise came for French voters as polls for the runoff vote closed Sunday evening: The far-right National Rally party did not receive the majority of the parliamentary seats pollsters had predicted. It didn’t even come close.” The results leave France’s government in a state of uncertainty and the threat of the far right is slowed but not necessarily stopped. But the vote and its reaction was a reminder of just how big the threat is and how vital it is to stop it. The threat and the ultimate result in America is an even bigger deal.

+ “Nobody expected this. High drama, for sure, but this was a shock.” BBC: What just happened in France’s shock election?

+ “‘The slap,’ ‘It’s crazy,’ ‘And now, what do we do?’ − those were some of Monday’s headlines from French newspapers after a gamble by President Emmanuel Macron ended in deadlock and a leadership crisis. Macron’s gamble had been to call a snap parliamentary election aimed at keeping ascending right-wing political forces in his country at bay.” ‘What do we do?’: A win for left. Blow for right. Macron stuck. France’s vote explained

+ WaPo (Gift Article): In France, relief and elation at a ‘victory’ that might be Pyrrhic: “The elation among center and left French voters arises mainly from pre-election polls that turned out to be massively wrong. Those polls formed expectations that the populist National Rally, with roots in a nationalist party established by Nazi collaborators and antisemites, would win a resounding victory. But beating flawed polls isn’t the same as winning. On the numbers, National Rally, until recently seen as beyond the pale, remains on a meteoric trajectory. The party, which in 2017 won just eight seats in France’s 577-seat National Assembly, captured 89 two years ago, representing 15 percent of the chamber’s total seats. On Sunday, it won 143 seats, one-quarter of the total.” Turns out the fight to keep darkness from overtaking democracy is a full-time and never-ending job.


It’s My Party and I’ll Try if I Want To

Just before the holiday weekend, I shared some thoughts on The Nojoementum, the growing media and insider pressure on Joe Biden to step aside. I’m not sure much has changed in regard to those trends. But in a letter to Congressional Democrats and some feisty interviews, Biden is so far making it clear he has no intention of dropping out and has told party members who suggest otherwise to get off his lawn. “The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. Its time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump.” Biden tells Democrats he’s not leaving the race, and it’s time to stop talking about it. (Editor’s note: People are not gonna stop talking about it.)

+ “Despite credible midweek reporting that Biden had conceded to allies that he might not be able to save his candidacy, his posture has since hardened—publicly and privately—into the unalloyed defiance on display at his Friday rally in Wisconsin: ‘They’re trying to push me out of the race. Well, let me say this as clear as I can: I’m staying in the race!’ The Defiance Defense, as I’ve come to think of it, has a clear strategic aim: to create pressure on elected Democrats not to go public with their private fears/convictions by raising the potential political cost of abandoning Biden at this late stage. But it also has a political price tag of its own: the wide and growing sense among those who aren’t members of the Biden family, or on the payroll, that the defiance of the president and his people is being animated by some lethal combination of denial, delusion, and desperation.” John Heilemann with some interesting takes from inside the party on Puck (Gift Article): Biden vs. The World. The fact remains that Biden is staying in until Biden decides he’s not. Biden reminds us of our own mortality. Trump reminds us of America’s.


The Parent Trap

“She returned to the war room, where the rest of her team was prepping for the final stretch of James Crumbley’s involuntary manslaughter trial. They watched as she demonstrated a second time, then a third. She stared down at the gun, the lock still on it. ‘That’s all it would have taken,’ she said, shaking her head. ‘And we’re here. And four kids have died.’ They were there that night in March because McDonald had chosen to do what no prosecutor in the United States had ever done before: charge the parents of a school shooter with homicide.” Guilty: Inside the high-risk, historic prosecution of a school shooter’s parents.



“It didn’t occur to Sarah that these symptoms could be linked. But in January 2024, she walked into a town hall in Granbury and found a room full of people worn thin from strange, debilitating illnesses. A mother said her 8-year-old daughter was losing her hearing and fluids were leaking from her ears. Several women said they experienced fainting spells, including while driving on the highway. Others said they were wracked by debilitating vertigo and nausea, waking up in the middle of the night mid-vomit.” Time: ‘We’re Living in a Nightmare:’ Inside the Health Crisis of a Texas Bitcoin Town.


Extra, Extra

Bleak View From the Summit: Just ahead of this week’s NATO summit, a children’s hospital in Kyiv has been hit after Russia launched a wave of missile strikes against cities across Ukraine.

+ You Can’t Handle the Truth: A two-part update from 60 Minutes provides the latest on Havana Syndrome. Is it a story we don’t want to get to the bottom of? Havana Syndrome mystery continues as a lead military investigator says bar for proof was set impossibly high.

+ Working Toward a Degree: “Some of the nation’s largest employers, including Walmart and McDonald’s, are now broaching a new frontier in higher education: convincing colleges to give retail and fast-food workers credit for what they learn on the job, counting toward a degree.”

+ Beryl Rolls: Millions without power as Beryl slams Texas.

+ Fly By Night Outfit: Boeing agrees to plead guilty and pay a nearly quarter-billion dollar fine. “The company will also be put on probation and subject to an independent compliance monitor for three years.”

+ Paramount Plus: Paramount and Skydance merge, signaling end of a family reign in Hollywood and the rise of new power. While some things in entertainment change, other things remain the same. Despicable Me 4 Rules July 4th With $122M Opening.

+ Crushing on Romance: “The shift is huge from the days when romance was looked down upon as frothy and unserious ‘chick-lit,’ or as smut. Even just a few years ago, many independent bookstores carried only a small selection of romance novels, often relegated to a shelf in the back of the store.” NYT (Gift Article): Romance Bookstores Are Booming. (People need an escape from our current reality. If I were smart, I’d turn NextDraft into a romance newsletter.)


Bottom of the News

An Alaska tourist spot will vote whether to ban cruise ships on Saturdays to give locals a break. In Barcelona, they’re way beyond that point. Way beyond. Demonstrators marching through areas popular with tourists on Saturday chanted ‘tourists go home‘ and squirted them with water pistols. (The experience will probably get added to a visitor’s guide as a way to stay cool during the Barcelona summer…)

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