Things That Matter

He Was Convicted Of Racial Profiling But Now America’s ‘Toughest Sheriff’ Is Running For His Old Job

Self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” Joe Arpaio, is trying to make his comeback two years after he was pardoned by President Trump for illegal racial profiling of Latinos. 

Former Maricopa County Sheriff, failed U.S. Senate candidate, and habitual abuser of power Joe Arpaio announced he will run to regain his old office in 2020.

Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on Sunday announced he would seek another term as sheriff of Maricopa County, two years after President Donald Trump pardoned him. He had been convicted on charges of criminal contempt related to the hard-line tactics he used to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

“After consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be reelected sheriff,” Arpaio said in a news release Sunday. “Watch out world! We are back!”

“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” he said. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”

Arpaio and his posse of deputies became famous for illegal and racist policies targeting Latinos.

Arpaio was notorious for using large-scale sweeps of Latino neighborhoods and traffic stops of Latino drivers to round up illegal immigrants. The sweeps drained resources from his department and were abhorred by civil liberties advocates and immigration groups, but they brought the publicity-seeking sheriff to national attention.

In a statement accompanying his tweet, Arpaio said he would reopen his tent city jail and resume immigration enforcement.

“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” Arpaio said in the statement. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”

Arpaio was first elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1993 and held the office until he was defeated in 2016. He styled himself as “the toughest sheriff in America” and became known for his “tent city” jail, where inmates wearing old-timey striped uniforms were held in tents in the brutal desert heat.

In a tweet, Arpaio said he already had the backing of “thousands.”

“Thousands want me to run for Sheriff,” Arpaio, 87, announced in a tweet Sunday. “Ready for bruising, bitter campaign. Never back down.”

Following several lawsuits, Arpaio was convicted of unlawful policing techniques and faced six months in prison.

In 2011, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division released a report finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.” 

For the next five years, Arpaio continued to flout orders by federal judges to improve the conditions inside his jails and cease the unconstitutional racial profiling of Latinos, leading to him being found guilty of both civil and criminal contempt of court in 2017.

Arpaio was also a vocal Trump supporter, and a month after his conviction, Trump returned the favor and pardoned Arpaio.

In fact, Joe Arpaio was one of the first politicians to step forward to support the campaign of then-candidate Trump. Arpaio is also a committed birther.

His “Cold Case Posse,” conducted in partnership with the far-right website WorldNetDaily, spent much of the Obama administration “investigating” the authenticity of the president’s birth certificate.

Reactions on Twitter have been overwhelmingly negative.

Even people in his home state don’t want anything to do with Arpaio. 

Many in his home state are still upset because they’re on the hook as taxpayers paying for his illegal activities.

In 2014, a report noted in Reason that Arpaio’s office “has also been guilty of a litany of shenanigans, including stealing documents from a defense attorney, arresting critical journalists, spying on political opponents—and maintaining such lousy jail conditions that they violate inmates’ rights.”

In 2016, after years of scandals and millions upon millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements, voters replaced Arpaio with a Democrat candidate. Let’s hope they make the right decision in 2020. 

VP Joe Biden Just Got A Major Endorsement From A Leading Latina Voice But Not Everyone Is Thrilled By It

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VP Joe Biden Just Got A Major Endorsement From A Leading Latina Voice But Not Everyone Is Thrilled By It

@DoloresHuerta / Twitter

One quick Google search of ‘Joe Biden’ and ‘Latino’ shows that the former VP – who is running for president this year – has a serious issue with the Latino vote. There is story after story about his lack of support among the Latinx community and suggestions on what he needs to do if he wants the community’s vote – which he’ll need if he wants to win in November.

Recently, however, the tide may be shifting as several prominent Latino advocacy organizations have lined up to support Biden in his campaign for the presidency. This week another prominent Latina voice has added her name to the growing list of advocates showing up to support Biden in 2020.

Labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta endorsed Joe Biden for president, giving him the backing of one of the nation’s most prominent Latina leaders.

Dolores Huerta, the labor and civil rights leader who co-founded what eventually became the United Farm Workers union, endorsed Joe Biden for president on Friday.

Huerta, who is based in Bakersfield and is one of the nation’s most prominent Latino activists, offered her support on International Workers Day and as Biden’s campaign seeks to improve support among Latino voters. She said on Friday that Biden has been a “staunch advocate for labor” and has prioritized Latinos.

In a statement, the activist added, “At a time when the current White House has used fear mongering and racist rhetoric towards Latinos, Joe has made it clear that he will fight to protect and advance our community.”

Huerta’s new endorsement is a change from recent quotes about the former VP and illustrates just how important it is to defeat Trump in November.

In her endorsement, Huerta said she promised to do everything “humanly possible” to get Joe Biden elected come November, changing what had been her record during the campaign up to this point.

In fact, just a few months ago, Huerta had endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for president and had criticized Biden for his lack of concrete answers about the needs of Latinos across the country. She even accused him of “talking just like the Republicans.”

With her endorsement of Biden, Huerta is making one thing very clear: We have to get rid of President Donald Trump, whatever it takes.

However, Biden still has a serious issue with Latino voters – will this endorsement really matter?

Just a couple of months ago Biden’s campaign was on life support. He was barely polling at all in several key states. That all changed when he won the South Carolina primary with the help of the state’s large African-American population.

Despite his subsequent wins across the country, Biden continued to trail Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), his main rival for the nomination, among Latinos for much of the primary. Biden’s campaign attributed the gap to a lack of financial resources that made it difficult to reach voters, but the former vice president also faced protests over the Obama administration’s deportation of nearly 3 million immigrants who were in the country illegally.

At a July 31 Democratic debate, Biden also found himself at odds with rival candidates who said crossing the border without permission should be a civil violation, not a criminal act. “If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It’s a crime,” Biden said.

But Latino support for the former VP seems to be increasing as the November election fast approaches.

In the weeks since Sanders suspended his campaign, Latino groups — including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC and Voto Latino, a voter registration group founded in 2004 — have started to coalesce around Biden.

María Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino’s president and chief executive, told the LA Times that the group decided to back Biden with its first-ever endorsement after he sent a 22-page document answering questions on his positions on student debt, the environment, immigration, criminal justice reform and the modernization of electoral systems. 

The group is now talking to his campaign about how to address the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Latino community. “We want him to think boldly, because it’s the time for that leadership to help get our country out of where we are,” Kumar said.

The National Popular Vote May Be The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of The Electoral College

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The National Popular Vote May Be The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of The Electoral College

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We may not be able to get rid of the electoral college without a constitutional amendment but a new proposal known as the National Popular Vote (NPV) is picking up a lot of steam. 

The United States is supposed to be a democracy where voters choose their leaders. In the past two decades, the will of the people has been subverted by the will of the electoral college. Imagine how the country might be different had Al Gore, an environmentalist, who won the popular vote against George W. Bush, who started the disastrous Iraq war, was elected instead? Imagine if Hillary Clinton, who hasn’t been accused of sexual assault two dozen times, and beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes had secured her seat in the oval? 

15 states and the District of Columbia have already adopted NPV.

“As signatories, each jurisdiction pledges to select Electoral College members who support the presidential candidate who won the most votes nationally, regardless of which candidate won the most votes in that particular jurisdiction,” according to the Atlantic

NPV is an interstate compact that requires a certain level of commitment from neighboring states. The pact will go into effect when participating states total 270 electoral college votes (the required number for the president-elect). The 16 regions that have made the commitment are already at 196 electoral college votes. 

NPV is also making waves in state politics on a lower level. It appear state officials are paving a way to pass the pact.

“The National Popular Vote bill has now passed a total of 40 state legislative chambers in 24 states. It has also passed at least one legislative chamber in 8 states possessing 75 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, OK).  It has been unanimously approved at the committee level in 2 states possessing 27 more electoral votes (GA, MO),” according to NationalPopularVote.com.

The plan would not totally eradicate the electoral college but it would mean that state leaders have made a commitment to effectively ignore it. Voters often express conflicting attitudes about candidates: they really love one candidate, but question if they can win the electoral college. Proponents of NPV would argue such compromises have no place in a democracy and NPV can help eliminate the conflict altogether. 

NPV could solve two major issues with the electoral college.

There are two major longstanding issues with the electoral college. The first is that our system is based on the premise of “one voter, one vote.” However, the system is skewed in favor of voters in a few small states. Electoral votes are determined by the number of representatives in Congress which is determined by the state population. 

The Washington Post notes that while small states receive a minimum of three electoral votes, larger states have limits on how many electoral votes they can receive. 

” Wyoming, with 586,107 residents — gets three electoral college votes… Consider that California, the most populous state, has 39,144,818 residents and 55 electoral college votes,” according to the paper. “That means that in the electoral college, each individual Wyoming vote weighs 3.6 times more than an individual Californian’s vote.” 

The second issue is the “winner take all” effect, where no matter how small a margin of victory a candidate has, they take all the electoral votes. This means our election outcomes are determined by a few swing states. While some argue that a popular vote will hurt the Republican party, such detractors might ask why Republicans are unable to curry enough favor to win over most American voters. 

The electoral college also disenfranchises about 4 million voters who live on territories.

“Roughly 4 million Americans live in the United States’ five permanently populated overseas territories — and they have no voice in selecting a president. That includes Puerto Rico, the United States’ most populous overseas territory, whose population is larger than that of 21 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the Washington Post. 

While residents of the territories can participate in primaries (Marco Rubio won the Puerto Rican GOP primary by a landslide in 2016, for example), they have no electoral votes with the exception of Washington, D.C. 

“More and more, the United States is likely to elect presidents who haven’t won the popular vote — awarding the presidency to a party that has no popular mandate. The compromises behind the U.S. election system are failing at their goals,” Katy Collin wrote for the Washington Post

One of the original intentions of the electoral college may have been to give smaller states a voice, but it has essentially assured that smaller states are the only voices that matter when it comes to picking our most important leader.