You remember ol’ Sheriff Joe, right? That would be Joe Arpaio … former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. What? You’ve forgotten about him already? He won Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week Award (that reminds me … I haven’t done one of those yet this year!) on October 18, 2016. A bit of a memory-refresher …
- Sheriff Arpaio calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” though the New York Times has aptly dubbed him “America’s Worst Sheriff.”
- He was accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, improper clearance of cases, racial profiling, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations, among others.
- In 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought suit against Arpaio for unconstitutional jail conditions, charging that “Arpaio routinely abused pre-trial detainees at Maricopa County Jail by feeding them moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food, housing them in cells so hot as to endanger their health, denying them care for serious medical and mental health needs and keeping them packed as tightly as sardines in holding cells for days at a time during intake.”
- In 2008 and again in 2010, Arpaio was ordered by the courts to end the overcrowding and to ensure all detainees receive necessary medical and mental health care, be given uninterrupted access to all medications prescribed by correctional medical staff, be given access to exercise and to sinks, toilets, toilet paper and soap, and be served food that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines. Arpaio made the statement that even if he had a billion dollars he wouldn’t change the way he runs his jails. Arpaio has said his jails are meant as places for punishment, and that the inhabitants are all criminals.
- In October 2016, Federal prosecutors charged Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County with criminal contempt of court, saying he willfully defied a judge’s orders to stop targeting Latinos — including citizens and legal immigrants — in traffic stops and other law enforcement efforts, behavior the judge said showed a pattern of discriminatory policing. He was convicted, but …
On August 25, 2017, Donald Trump used his executive authority to unconscionably pardon Joe Arpaio of his crimes. Almost immediately thereafter, the 85-year-old Arpaio announced that he would run for U.S. Senate. Most analysts agreed early on that his candidacy would be a gift to the democrats, for he would divide the republican vote, neatly handing what had previously been a republican seat over to the democratic candidate. In many ways, Arpaio’s run closely resembles that of Alabama’s Roy Moore last December. The only thing missing is the accusations of pedophilia and sexual abuse, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see those before November.
Trump’s pardon, predictably, bought Arpaio’s undying loyalty, lock, stock and barrel. Arpaio even claims a cosmic bond with Trump:
“I can read his mind without even talking to him. I think he may be reading mine. Is there something that goes through the airwaves? Mental telepathy?”
Seriously??? What murky places those two minds must be!!!
In truth, Arpaio and Trump do share some similarities. Both are obsessed with their media coverage, they both claim they are persecuted by ‘biased’ judges, they share an affinity for reality television and a focus on railing against immigrant threats. They even share a June 14th birthday. And they are both bigoted old white men.
Also like Trump, Arpaio has a bloated ego …
“Actually, the president should make me the press secretary. That would be a great combination, what a great combination. I’ll have all those reporters eating out of my hand, you know that.”
And also like Trump, Arpaio is still obsessed with President Barack Obama. He jumped on the birther bandwagon early on, and even though Trump finally dropped that one, admitted that he knew all along that Obama was born in the U.S., Arpaio continues to promote the theory that Obama was born elsewhere. Not only that, but he claims that Obama never attended Harvard Law School.
The seat Arpaio is running for is the one being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake, who announced his retirement last October. However, there may be a second seat open in Arizona in November, that of Senator John McCain, who is battling brain cancer and has been absent from Washington since December. If he should announce his retirement before May, then that seat will also be up for grabs in November.
Arizona remains a ‘red’ state, although in 2016, Trump won by a relatively low margin (3.5%). However, with the dilution of the GOP ticket, there may well be room for a democratic senator. The GOP primary will be held on August 28th.
Arpaio isn’t the only controversial (I’m being nice here) candidate running for the senate seat. There is also Craig Brittain, owner-operator of a porn website and self-professed ‘anarcho-capitalist’ (whatever that is). He wants to end all taxation. I’m not sure how he plans for his salary to be paid? He also wants to eliminate most of the important federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Internal Revenue Service, United Nations, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Reserve, Transportation Security Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Well, he certainly won’t be much competition for anybody, will he? Though I imagine there are a few who would vote for him.
Arpaio is unlikely to win the senate seat, but in at least two polls, he is closely trailing Martha McSally, one of the two front-runners for the GOP nomination. It is said that Arpaio’s memory is slipping, and when he was asked how many members there are in Congress, he answered: 356. There are 535. And when he made another faux pas, he responded, “Sometimes I am my own worst enemy with diarrhea of the mouth, especially with the media. Is Trump like that?”
The GOP is reportedly not excited by the prospect of Arpaio’s candidacy and many of his recent comments, especially the one about reading Trump’s mind, and vice versa, are causing them to lose sleep at night. Ah well, sorry GOP, but you opened the door to the nutcases, now you can sleep with them. And finally, Arpaio’s main reason for running …
“I am running now because of Trump. Because he needs help.”