Why We May Be Stuck With Joe Arpaio

Conor Friedersdorf at Andrew Sullivan's blog has a number of comments from Arizona readers about why, despite all his nuttiness and outright hostility to civil rights, Joe Arpaio just keeps on getting elected here in Phoenix.

One sample:

...Arpaio is media-savvy, and picks his enemies well.  By this I don't mean his foes in county government or in the media, I mean the groups on whom he concentrates the resources of his office.  Last night, as every year about this time, all of the TV stations showed footage from this year's deadbeat dad roundup, along with the smirking Sheriff talking about how terrible it was that kids were going to have a lousy Xmas because these deadbeat dads hadn't been paying child support.  He also goes after animal cruelty cases with a vengeance.  I think he has a finely-tuned sense of which "others' are particularly viewed with scorn by his target supporters, and goes after them with a vengeance.  There is no doubt that many Maricopa county residents feel safer as a result of his policies, but also equally that his policies are never designed to impact negatively those supporters who see themselves as law-abiding (and hence won't ever be in jail), are white (and hence will never be racially profiled), and don't fit into any of the other classes that he has singled out for opprobrium.

On a side topic, one commenter does take this out of context:

But let's not forget we're in a state that effectively voted by referendum NOT to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the 90's

The issue as I remember it was not of honoring Martin Luther King Jr. but of adding another paid holiday for state workers.  As I recall, Republicans readily agreed to a state holiday for MLK as long as government workers gave up one somewhere else on the calendar, so it wasn't about MLK per se but about whether government employees should be allowed an extra paid day off.

  • Rick C`

    Aside: the MLK holiday thing struck Greenville County, SC, a few years back, for the exact same reason--the county was willing to replace an existing holiday with MLK day, but certain people didn't like that.

  • morganovich

    rick-

    wall st did the same thing with MLK. we stopped getting columbus day off and now get MLK.

    personally, one long weekend is as good as another to me, but i remember a number of people being pissed off.

    there are far more italians than african americans on wall st, especially in new york.

  • Roy

    Ironically Joe's prison methodology drives costs up rather than down.

    Granted this result has enough counterintuitiveness that (short sighted) voters do not see it. (Read as "chow down on the pandering message Joe and other politicos provide.") But ponder what would happen as Joe makes his prison more and more miserable. That means multiplying lawsuits, increasing legal costs. That's an obvious, albeit ignored result. But most folks simply bypass considering the not-so-evident costs. Making life tougher has lots of attached, not mentioned much less discussed costs. Escapes increase. Violence against both inmates and guards increase. Riots are more likely. Prisoners getting out will have developed seriously increased attitude problems, and become far more likely to do stuff that hurts others. Put bluntly, U.S. prisons don't have scheduled floggings because of concern for humane treatment, but because of money.

    TANSTAAFL applies to prisons. And to Joe. In fact, that is what limits Joe.

  • mahtso

    Other things about the King Day vote:
    (1)there were a couple of votes and one was approved (I have heard Az is the only state where the voters have approved the holiday);
    (2) shortly before one vote, the Commissioner of the NFL announced that if the vote was no, Az would be punished by not getting to host the Superbowl. Many believe that this is why it did not pass in that people that they went and voted no to show the Commissioner that they would not be bullied. As an aside, it has been years since I heard, but for years the NFL was not closed on King Day because their business was too important!
    3) At the time of the votes, Az had a day of honor for Mr. King, but it was not a holiday so that was not good enough for some people (all about the money??)

    With respect to re-electing the Sheriff: it may come as a surprise to some, but there is not an election everyday.

  • smurfy

    "Az had a day of honor for Mr. King, but it was not a holiday so that was not good enough for some people (all about the money??)"

    Absolutely, call me a man-child if you want but it aint a holiday unless I get presents, candy, or a day off work. Preferably at least 2 of the 3.

    I have a dream...that one day I will be able to go skiing on the 3rd Monday of January. Sorry, that was irreverent considering skiing is about the least diverse sport going, but living in a ski town I face a disparate impact as a result of not getting this particular holiday.

    I thought Joe was known for saving the county money with his tents and green bologna.

  • perf

    Actually, the MLK thing was mostly a screw-up by the holiday's proponents. Some wanted a paid holiday. Others wanted an unpaid holiday. So they put both on the ballot. A majority voted in favor of one or the other holidays, splitting the "yes" vote, and a plurality voted no. Oops.

  • ParatrooperJJ

    MLK was a philandering, plagarizing prick who is extremly overated.

  • Wun Lefti Dipsheet

    > The issue as I remember it was not of honoring Martin Luther King Jr. but of adding another paid holiday for state workers. As I recall, Republicans readily agreed to a state holiday for MLK as long as government workers gave up one somewhere else on the calendar, so it wasn’t about MLK per se but about whether government employees should be allowed an extra paid day off.

    No, no, it was racism.

    It HAD to be. There is just no other possible reason why one would vote against a holiday to honor a registered Republican like MLK, Jr.

  • http://www.paganvigil.com NeoWayland

    Arizona is the only state that dared put MLK Day up to the voters.

    Twice.

    Going by the raw numbers, it won both times.

    I cover it in more details at my politics blog.

    http://www.paganvigil.com/C1163190915/E1732555926/index.html