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Joe Arpaio Belongs In Prison, Not The U.S. Senate


Disgraced former sheriff and presidentially-pardoned ex-con Joe Arpaio is officially running for U.S. Senate in the State of Arizona. As befitting a man of his particular interests, he’ll run as a Republican.

Arpaio made his announcement via Twitter earlier today. Here are the words he strung together [unnecessary capitalization in the original]:

I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again.

Arpaio will probably win the open primary for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jeff Flake.

Recall, Flake recently won the hearts of centrists and liberals by vaguely and mildly criticizing President Donald Trump while voting for his legislative agenda 91 percent of the time, according to 538’s “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump.” Flake is now rumored to be exploring a primary challenge against Trump in 2020, but he’ll probably just get his own show on MSNBC where he’ll get to make homophobic and transphobic jokes with Joy-Ann Reid while still being feted by pretend leftists and alt-centrists. (Flake has a very poor history on LGBT issues.) Anyway.

The open seat is already being contested by Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward–a conservative firebrand in her own right–and the early favorite. Without the availability of polling, it’s likely one of two things happens: Arpaio wins a plurality of votes and captures the GOP primary nomination, then goes down in flames against semi-popular Democratic Representative Krysten Sinema in a statewide race. Or, perhaps more likely, Arpaio will just siphon off hard-right votes from Ward, causing the quieter Arizona Republican, Representative Martha McSally to navigate the middle ground.

In any event, Joe Arpaio isn’t going to the U.S. Senate next year–or any year. The people of Arizona outside of the nativist GOP base there won’t allow that to happen. That’s because they know Sheriff Joe really belongs in jail.

If you’re keeping score, here’s what Arizonans know about Joe that will keep him away from senatorial power:

That concentration camp thing. In Arpaio’s own words, he ran his infamous Tent City jail as a “concentration camp” In that self-avowed concentration camp–and in Arpaio’s more traditional jails–prisoners committed suicide at double the next highest rate.

Brutality Part One. Once, Arpaio’s jailers allegedly broke the neck of an already paraplegic man because he asked for a catheter to use the restroom. His original crime was possession of one gram of marijuana–barely enough to affect an adult human in the first place.

Brutality Pt. II. On another occasion, Arpaio’s men allegedly beat a man, Damon Dreckmeier, so badly that blood poured from his mouth and rectum for hours on end. He reportedly screamed for help. So did other inmates. Those cries went ignored and Dreckmeier eventually won a lawsuit against Maricopa County for over $300,000.

Joe’s record with women. Like quite a few officially “pro-life” politicians, Arpaio is actually a bit less concerned with unborn lives than his press releases would lead folks to believe. More than one woman lost a child while in Arpaio’s custody due to lack of necessary pre-natal treatment and the jail’s harsh conditions–while at least one woman was forced to give birth wearing shackles.

An expensive little snowflake. Arpaio once falsely arrested–and tried to prosecute–journalists who covered his antics too closely and critically. The journalists sued and won $3.75 million. On another occasion, Arpaio faked an assassination attempt against himself–and got caught–but only after arresting and jailing the man he knew was innocent of the non-crime which never existed in the first place–for four years. Eventually, the man’s family sued and Maricopa County shelled out over $1 million.

Joe went super soft on sex criminals. Hundreds of sexual assault and child-molestation cases were allegedly ignored and mishandled by Arpaio’s office while Sheriff Joe chased the spotlight. Arpaio’s meticulously cultivated tough guy image apparently didn’t extend to harsh treatment for sex criminals who targeted women and children. Definitely unrelated: one of Arpaio’s “Sheriff’s Posse” members was alleedly a huge fan of child porn.

The racism. While preening for the ever-present-and-courted cameras, Arpaio appeared to segregate Black, Hispanic and Latino prisoners, put them in black-and-white-striped uniforms reminiscent of Jim Crow era chain gangs, and then marched them to their own special area ringed by an electric fence.

A story about a dog. While conducting a failed SWAT raid on the wrong house, Arpaio’s bumbling men inadvertently burned the house down. Again, the wrong house. When the family’s dog came running out of the fire, a SWAT team member forced the dog back inside to be burned alive. And then Arpaio’s men laughed about the incident while the dog’s owner cried.

There’s no need to mince words here. Arpaio isn’t going to the U.S. Senate but it will be funny to see him try–and lose. It would be even funnier to see a prosecutor with an ounce of spine attempt to put the decrepit gasbag where he belongs: in the horrifying stir of his own making.

[image via screengrab/ABC 15]

Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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