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'Vicious Sadist' Joe Arpaio Launches Senate Bid Months After Racial Profiling Conviction

With candidates like Arpaio, the GOP is "exposing inflammatory hate for all to see," noted MoveOn.org's Ben Wikler

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio gestures to the crowd as he delivers a speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Just months after being convicted of criminal contempt for violating a court order demanding that he stop racially profiling Latinos, the 85-year-old former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Tuesday that he is running for the Arizona Senate seat that will soon be left vacant by retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

"It really does seem as if people do not quite appreciate just how evil Joe Arpaio truly is."
—Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs

In a tweet declaring his candidacy, Arpaio—who was also found to have systematically failed to investigate sex crimes in Maricopa County during his tenure as sheriff—vowed to be an "unwavering" proponent of "the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump."

As Common Dreams reported, Trump pardoned Arpaio last August, rescuing him from a possible year-long prison sentence.

Arpaio's announcement on Tuesday makes him the third Arizona Republican to launch a bid for Flake's Senate spot. And as the Washington Post's Aaron Blake notes, Arpaio also joins two other current Republican congressional hopefuls who have been convicted of a crime.

Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, noted that with candidates like Arpaio, the GOP is "exposing inflammatory hate for all to see."

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Arpaio attempted to whitewash his history of mistreating immigrants by claiming he has a "soft spot" for the Mexican community.

Later in the interview, however, Arpaio suggested that Dreamers should simply be deported and then put "on a fast track to come back into the United States legally with special permits."

"That would be no amnesty, everybody would be happy, you deport them and then let them come back with all their education here," Arpaio added. "I'm sure they could find a temporary job or help the foreign countries and build up relations and come back. That's just a big picture that I have. People may say I'm crazy."

While major media outlets tend to portray Arpaio as a "fiery" political figure known for his "hardline views" on immigration, his record is far more insidious than these descriptions indicate, as Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs makes clear in a detailed examination of the former sheriff's record published shortly after Arpaio was pardoned by Trump.

After analyzing Arpaio's "monstrous and sickening" history of sanctioning the abuse of immigrants, leaving inmates at Maricopa County jails to die on the floor, and "faking clearance reports for serious crimes while abusing the power of his office to arrest and intimidate journalists, judges, and county officials," Robinson argued that Arpaio should be viewed not merely as a bigot, but as a "vicious sadist who abused his power more than perhaps anyone else to hold public office in the United States during the 21st century."

"It really does seem as if people do not quite appreciate just how evil Joe Arpaio truly is," Robinson concluded.

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