I have a new column at The Federalist today, discussing former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s apparent campaign for the U.S. Senate. I previously wrote a column about President Trump’s pardon of Arpaio for criminal contempt of court related to a racial profiling case, focusing on the case that led to his downfall, and the points at which politics may have been involved.
Today’s column focuses more broadly on Arpaio’s record to explain why he would be an awful GOP candidate in a general election. As I was writing in part for people who may have cheered his efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration, I focus on the relative ineffectiveness of his high-profile sweeps, as well as the ways in which his decision to focus on illegal immigration coincided with soaring violent crime rates and various other breakdowns in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office during the time when his sweeps were legally authorized.
Also, given his pose as the victim of a political prosecution, I note why politics (regardless of whether they were involved in the Obama administration’s de-authorization of his activities) were not involved in the contempt prosecution. Moreover, I note that Arpaio has a serious case of projection, as he has a track record of abusing his authority to persecute his political enemies.
Right now, the polling seems to suggest his possible entry into the U.S. Senate race may benefit the more establishment candidate, Rep. Martha McSally, over the anti-establishment former state Sen. Kelli Ward. But after the GOP’s recent embarrassing loss of the Alabama seat at the hands of Roy Moore following a similar three-way contest, primary voters ought to be shunning Arpaio rather than making him competitive. Unfortunately, as was the case in Alabama, neither of Arpaio’s rivals has a strong motive to be the one who goes directly after Arpaio. Indeed, a similar collective action problem is part of How We Got Trump.
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