Nightmare Ticket: Trump-Arpaio

Donald Trump is so reckless and unpredictable that he just might decide to select as his running mate Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the most dangerous law enforcement official in America. Indeed, Trump and Arpaio are soul-mates with much in common. For starters, they both cultivate a macho image and identify themselves explicitly as "tough." Trump promotes himself as tough on NATO allies, veterans, China, Muslims, Isis, Republican Establishment, media, immigrants, women, free trade, protesters, physically disabled, to name just a few. Arpaio proclaims in his autobiography that he is "America's Toughest Sheriff" who for decades in Phoenix, Arizona, has engaged in the greatest abuse of law enforcement power of any law enforcement official in modern American history. Arpaio has reveled in using his power in the cruelest, most inhumane ways. He built a concentration camp (his term) called "Tent City" for convicted felons, with limited food and medical care; forced inmates into "chain gangs," and forced them to wear pink underwear; instigated racial profiling and illegal detention of Latinos; conducted with his disbarred sidekick county attorney Andrew Thomas a reign of terror against local judges and county officials; misused and possibly stole $100 million of public funds; and covered up accusations of misconduct against his deputies. Last week, after a lengthy hearing, a federal judge held Arpaio in contempt of court for his manic pursuit of unauthorized immigrants, citing "multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith."
Trump and Arpaio have strikingly similar agendas that would make them a formidable political team. Take the issue of President Obama's birth. In 2011 Trump was one of the most outspoken critics of Obama's citizenship, and publicly demanded that Obama release his birth certificate. Obama did, which showed indisputably that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Arpaio, posing as a Trump tag team-mate, held a news conference at the time in which he asserted that the birth certificate was a computer-generated forgery. Although Hawaii and Arizona officials, including the governor, dismissed Arpaio's allegations as preposterous, Arpaio persisted, saying that "I know a fake document when I see it." That's the kind of remark Trump would make.
Trump and Arpaio are narcissists who are adept at self-promotion. Trump's ability to exploit his name and brand is uncanny, almost magical. Arpaio, too, feverishly pursues national and worldwide fame, claiming hundreds of news appearances per month. And just as Trump is famous for his reality TV gambits, notably "The Apprentice," Arpaio also has promoted himself on reality TV, especially the Fox Reality Channel's three-part series "Smile...You're Under Arrest," in which persons with outstanding arrest warrants are tricked by Arpaio and his minions into presenting themselves for arrest.
Trump famously celebrates his business acumen and deal-making, but Arpaio also has shown if not a mastery at least an interest in business ventures. Together they would make a formidable commercial partnership, not a bad thing if you have to raise lots of money to get elected. Trump claims his businesses have netted him billions, although his refusal to release his tax returns raises questions. Arpaio too has launched business ventures, notably his promotion of the Phoenix E Space Rocket, which he claims to have developed and planned to take off on the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's voyage to the new world. Although Arpaio claimed that 19 flights on the Phoenix E were booked, no flights were ever made, so it is not known whether the project was a fraud.
On their signature issues, Trump and Arpaio would make an extraordinarily attractive team of tthe most rabid anti-immigration fighters in American history. Arpaio and his Wild Bunch of deputies - he calls them his "posse" - would no doubt implement and supervise the erection of the "Trump Wall," and as they have been doing for years in Maricopa County, and wistfully under President Trump, employ his Immigrant Smuggling Squad throughout the country to raid homes, business, schools, and shelters and stop cars with Latino drivers or passengers. Arpaio and his deputies have launched many thousands of such sweeps, raids and stops, which continued unabated even after a federal court ordered him to halt his unabashed reign of terror.
Trump and Arpaio also are adept at public relations gimmicks. They self-consciously promote the color pink. Trump wears pink shirts and neckties, and some of his famous logos - especially the logo renaming the White House the "Trump House" - appear in pink. Arpaio, too, loves pink. As a public relations stunt he famously required inmates in his jails to wear pink underwear. Indeed, he became so enamored of his creativity that he began to market the product, selling customized pink boxers with the Maricopa County Sheriff's logo and "Go Joe" as a fundraiser for the Sheriff's Posse Association, and his re-election. Despite allegations of misuse of funds, Arpaio provided no accounting. Indeed, Arpaio has consistently deflected widespread allegations of his misuse of millions of dollars in county funds. Litigation against Arpaio and his office has cost the taxpayers nearly $150 million.
Among Trump's possible choices for a running mate, Arpaio undoubtedly would be an unusual choice. He has spent virtually his entire career in the executive branch, certainly an important consideration given Trump's lack of any government experience. Moreover, Arpaio has lots of qualities that would endear him to Trump and his followers: his cruelty toward immigrants, his flaunting court decrees, his attacks on the political establishment, and his public relations gimmicks. To be sure, Arpaio is 83-years-old and some might say a bit old to be the Vice President. But Arpaio plans to run again in November for a seventh term as America's toughest sheriff. He might help Trump get elected, and certainly, as Vice President, would do much less harm than he has done as sheriff.