Though he hasn't had a lot of success lately, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is going to take a run at getting his old job back.
On Sunday, Joe Arpaio, the disgraced former sheriff of Maricopa County, announced he'll be running for sheriff again.
It's been a humiliating several years for Arpaio. He lost his bid for sheriff in 2016. In 2017, he was convicted of criminal contempt because he deliberately ignored a judge's order to stop detaining immigrants whose only infraction was that they lacked legal status. And, in 2018, he was crushed in his run for Senate in 2018, garnering only 18.9% of the votes in the GOP primary.
Through it all, though, Trump has remained firmly allied with Arpaio, so much so that he pardoned him in 2017. Trump backed Arpaio's 2018 Senate run, though he also confusingly issued statements in favor of all three Republicans in the primary.
The friendship between Trump and Arpaio isn't hard to parse. They're both vicious racists who hate immigrants. Both frame that hatred as simply following the rule of law, but the truth is neither one of them have any respect for the law. They're also both birthers and deny that former President Obama was born in the United States.
Now, expect Trump to enthusiastically endorse Arpaio's latest attempt to win an elected office. And expect Arpaio to enthusiastically lean into highlighting his friendship with Trump. Arpaio even timed the announcement he's running for sheriff again to occur on the second anniversary of the date Trump pardoned him. Finally, expect Arpaio to continue his anti-immigrant ways, as he's already vowed to reopen Tent City, a brutal outdoor jail where he housed immigrants.
Only under Trump could an avowed racist and convicted criminal like Arpaio believe he has a viable path to becoming the top law enforcement official in a county. But Trump has sent every signal that he'd be just fine with someone like Arpaio running a county again. Trump often brags about his toughness on immigrants, vowing to deport millions of people. He told law enforcement officers they should rough up people during arrests. And, of course, he's praised Nazis, which dovetails neatly with Arpaio referring to his own outdoor jail as a "concentration camp."
Hopefully, Arpaio's bid for sheriff will end the way his last few elections did — in abject failure. Trump's pardon power, which kept him out of jail, can't help him get elected.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.