Opinion | The 8 likeliest Trump VP picks (to let stingrays swarm their moms) (2024)

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In today’s edition:

  • How to be Trump’s VP. How to fix the civil service. (One involves stingrays.)
  • Industry in suffocated Gaza and life in gang-controlled Haiti
  • Let’s get our seniors a little sex education!
  • Stats are just the start of honoring the Negro Leagues

High-octane veepstakes

After watching public elements of the Trump veepstakes, Alexandra Petri is pretty sure of what additional trials are going on behind closed doors in the competition to join the presumptive GOP nominee on the 2024 ticket:

In this room, you’re faced with a choice. Your mother is in a vat that is filling up with stingrays, and Donald Trump is not. He wants you to stand here and clap while the vat fills up with stingrays. No, he’s not in any danger; he just likes to see what he can make you do. He’s not going to deal with another Mike Pence!

No spoilers, but don’t expect Ms. Vance, Ms. Stefanik or Ms. Scott to last long as their offspring try to prove their utter loyalty to Trump. (Who do our columnists think is the savviest pick? See their rankings in the latest edition of Alexi McCammond’s Prompt 2024 newsletter.) Sign up here.


We know by now that obedience is a trait Trump wants not just in his VP but all throughout the civil service that powers the executive branch. A bipartisan group of five former agency heads across the national security, diplomacy and intelligence communities pushes back in an op-ed defending bureaucrats’ responsibility to speak truth to power.

This group writes also that bureaucrats need to be held more accountable for poor job performance. “As a practical matter,” they say, “the few bad actors among them are overprotected under the existing system.” They provide a plan to fix this specific problem without endangering the independence of the civil service writ large.

Chaser: We have seen the horrors of one-party rule in a place where competition, pushback and innovation go to die. Behold: Indiana (at least according to the state’s own former governor Mitch Daniels).

When Gaza had oranges

“Gaza was once lush with citrus orchards,” policy fellow Tariq Kenney-Shawa writes in a painful case study of how Israel has suffocated Palestinian industry. Jaffa oranges were known the world over, and by the 1960s, more than 30 percent of Gaza’s workers worked in citrus.


Beginning in 1967, Israeli intervention led to the industry’s spoilage. Exports were blocked, groves were bulldozed, and yet more trees were parched with water restrictions. “Today, orange and lemon trees no longer dot the countryside,” Kenney-Shawa writes. “An industry that could have served as a bedrock for Gaza’s economic development lies in tatters.”

It is proof, he says, that “Israel is and has always been the biggest obstacle to Gaza’s prosperity.”

Journalist Monique Clesca chronicles another besieged community that’s just trying to get by: her neighborhood in Haiti. Gangs recently took full control of the country, but, as in Gaza, the people’s inability to rely on anyone but themselves extends back generations.

When Clesca moved into her neighborhood in 1996, “there was no electricity, my neighbors and I pooled our money to install the pylons and transformers needed to bring in power.” Now, she wakes up to machine-gun fire.

She describes a word in Creole — “konbit,” meaning “communal labor” — as the only way, however unfair, that Haitians have a hope of making it through this crisis.

From Leana Wen’s column on the climbing rates of various sexually transmitted infections among this somewhat surprising group. I will just quickly say what a public health figure such as Leana can’t and probably shouldn’t: Okay, seniors! I see you!


Obviously, though, we want these older folks to be enjoying themselves safely. Leana writes that a spike in STIs is not an inevitability of more sex but largely a result of low condom use among seniors — which itself is a problem partly because seniors don’t have all that much STI knowledge. Can you blame them for coming of age in an abstinence-only era?

Leana writes that the medical establishment needs to start treating and educating the over-65 crowd as folks who can get down just as much as their younger counterparts.

Chaser: Long covid might presage a wave of disability claims, the Editorial Board warns. Governments need to get ready.

Less politics

Major League Baseball’s recent integration of the Negro Leagues’ statistics into its record books is a “triumph,” writes Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. He just wants to make sure it doesn’t dim the memory of all the pain, power and perseverance that players of color displayed on their segregated fields.


In his brief history of the league, Kendrick writes that achieving excellence there “wasn’t easier. It was harder”; that’s why top players absolutely “knew how good they were. They knew how good their league was — and, quite frankly, the major leaguers knew as well.”

Now, the stats bear that out, and Kendrick hopes they will be a mere starting point for baseball fans to go deeper into the “indomitable and entrepreneurial spirit of the Negro Leagues.”

Smartest, fastest

  • Apparently, every U.S. economist is a communist now? Catherine Rampell explores the GOP’s bold new claim!
  • Our European allies have every reason to fear Trump’s return, Jen Rubin writes: The Western alliance wouldn’t survive another term.
  • Maybe the Constitution isn’t failing us; maybe we’re failing it. After all, Ramesh Ponnuru writes, the document was meant to be a uniter, not a divider.

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … The Bye-Ku.

Sweetest of citrus

Crate-rotted at the border

Bitter industry


Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. See you tomorrow!

Opinion | The 8 likeliest Trump VP picks (to let stingrays swarm their moms) (2024)
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