​Imagine Senator Arpaio and President Franken in 2020

​Joe Arpaio is now eyeing a run for a more overtly political position, like mayor. Or senator. Having been pardoned by the president last Friday, he now says he’s ready to run for another office, rather than sherrif of Maricopa County, AZ. Democrats see a conspiracy brewing, with pardons galore being the get-out-of-jail card for any of the president’s associates that might be charged by Special Counsel Mueller’s team. Republicans are mostly angry or disappointed.

And Arpaio seems to love the rage and controversy. Sound familiar?

Joe Arpaio's methods as Maricopa County Sheriff offended many before the specific events leading to the charge of criminal contempt for which he was pardoned. He made convicts wear striped suits, and perhaps even had younger prisoners work in chain gangs. And some loved his approach. His tough on crime approach was an angry, in-your-face rejection of most liberal and centrist policies on how to rehabilitate criminals and bring them back into society as productive members.

So Arpaio already had enemies a plenty when he took things a step further; a step too far for District Court Judge G. Murray Snow. It had to do with immigration and racial profiling of Latino's in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The trial and charges against the former sherrif revolve around Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which has to do with the relationship between the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers and local police. And it's really about how much local police should cooperate with ICE officials in detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally. The ICE cross-certified (as the saying goes) Maricopa County police to enforce civil immigration laws. But a few years later they then revoked that authority under pressure from the newly installed Obama administration in 2009.

Judge Snow ruled in 2016 that Arpaio had willfully defied the revoking of his police force's immigration authority and had continued to profile and likely did it for reasons related to a possible future political run. No kidding.

Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt. And now he's been pardoned in a process that has shredded previous practice (Arpaio legal options were far from being exhausted and he hasn't done a day of jail time) but which was constitutional all the same.

It's fortunate for the political establishment on both sides of the aisle that Joe Arpaio is an unlikable, aggressive, old fashioned law and order sherrif who probably is quite the bigot as well. Because behind the personal details of his case, lies a fundamental divide in immigration policy that cuts to the heart of how to enforce immigration law in America. As sanctuary cities refuse to work with immigration authorities and as AG Sessions tries to find ways to ensure compliance, it should be remembered that Arpaio's case comes from the same basic problem.

How do you enforce the law when it comes to immigration?

They should establish a Senate Committee to sort it out, sometime in 2019, after Senator Arpaio takes his newly won seat. Laugh if you must at that possibility. And it is a very remote possibility.

But remember. Senator Franken won his first election by a couple of hundred votes. And now in an article in Real Clear Politics, Carl Cannon states that Franken could be America's next president. In fact, he positively thinks that Franken should be president, as a sort of cross between Obama's studious side and Trump's entertainer persona. And Carl Cannon seems serious about this.

In other words, Obama broke the mold, not Trump. Trump is another first (no political experience etc etc), just like Obama was a first. The old rules of political gravity are gone. Cracked open by Obama, and crushed into the ground by Trump. Our Newtonian world of political rules has been shattered. Everything is now relative. So why not President Franken? Why not Senator Arpaio?

Posted by Keeley at August 30, 2017 12:39 PM
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