One of the saddest aspects of modern life is that modern advance-society people and their news media tend to get bored with ongoing challenges that lose novelty.That’s definitely the case with the global AIDS crisis.Yes, the AIDS crisis in America has abated somewhat, but it’s still with us.Yes, the AIDS crisis in Asia has yet to gain headlines, but it will.And yes, the AIDS crisis in Africa is old news by now, but it continues to represent the most massive humanitarian disaster in a continent already beset by disasters beyond measure.Many of us outside Africa have learned to beat our breasts about our failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda, and a few of us are agitated about the ongoing quasi-genocide in Darfur, and that’s all good. But the death toll, actual and potential, from AIDS in Africa makes every man-made contribution to the Grim Reaper’s work pale by comparison.There are things we can do to succor the dying and suffering, to limit future deaths, and to take care of the vast number of orphans AIDS is producing. And taking those steps, particularly in terms of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, should be divorced from the broader argument over conditional or unconditional assistance to African regimes.It’s sad that “awareness” remains the primary goal of AIDS advocates on this World AIDS Day. But that’s where we are, and any American who professes fidelity to a compassionate view of human morality, based on religion or any other system, should manifest this awareness in a serious effort to demand action and save lives.
TDS Strategy Memos
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By Ed Kilgore
You might have missed a potentially significant political story involving a non-candidate for president, so I wrote about it at New York:
One variable in the fraught and complex 2024 presidential election has now been put to rest: Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has announced he will not pursue an independent or “unity ticket” candidacy for president this year, as USA Today reports:
“Manchin made the announcement during a speaking engagement at West Virginia University for his recently created nonprofit group Americans Together, which is aimed at connecting and empowering moderate voices.
“’I will not be seeking a third-party run, I will not be involved in a presidential run,’ Manchin, 76, told the crowd. ‘I will be involved in making sure that we secure a president who has the knowledge, has the function and has the ability to bring this country together.’”
He argued that “the system right now is not set up” for candidates not affiliated with either major political party to win the presidency but said that in the “long game” there could be room to make a third party viable.
Manchin’s vow not to be “involved in a presidential run” seems also to preclude a vice-presidential candidacy, which had seemed a possibility if No Labels, the nonpartisan organization with which Manchin has been closely associated, winds up sponsoring a ticket headed by a Republican. His subsequent comment about the kind of president he wanted to help the country secure could indicate that for all his third-party flirtations and ideological heresies, Manchin might endorse a second term for Joe Biden. He could not possibly have been talking about Donald Trump by referring to a president who had “the ability to bring this country together.”
In any event, Manchin’s decision was good news for his party’s 2024 prospects. There’s likely a ceiling on Trump’s support well short of a popular majority, so it’s a strategic imperative for Biden to corral anti-Trump voters without too much competition from minor candidates, and particularly from a well-known Democrat.
The announcement obviously takes away one option for No Labels, which is reportedly in the process of interviewing potential candidates, even though the group has not formally decided whether to undertake a campaign (it has, however, secured ballot access in 13 states so far).
It also likely means Manchin has run his last campaign. He chose not to run for a third full term in the Senate this year, likely because West Virginia had turned so bright red that even a relatively conservative Democrat would have no real chance of winning, particularly in a presidential-election year. With no electoral base, the 76-year-old former governor will wind up his Senate service and presumably retire to his houseboat. His family already dodged one calamity this year when Manchin’s wife, Gayle, survived a serious car accident. A futile presidential run would not have improved their quality of life.