Mike Pence Did a Stupid Thing Yesterday That Will Cost the Republicans Dearly
Pence thinks Arpaio has a shot
Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Arizona on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, in an attempt to reap the diminishing returns of the Trump effect among Arizona’s conservatives. His end goal there was an insipid one: to garner grassroots support for Joe Arpaio.
When the former sheriff was pardoned by President Trump in late August 2017, there was a lot of backlash due to Arpaio’s controversial track record of racial profiling and prisoner abuse. However, the truth was Trump’s primary reason for pardoning Arpaio had to do with sending a signal to Special Counsel Robert Mueller: if anyone was convicted on federal crimes, they would be pardoned by Trump long before his own impeachment.
Unfortunately, Arpaio has continued to remain a political thorn in the side of the country through his candidacy for the Senate. Though there are plenty of people in Arizona that still love him, there is also plenty of contempt for him, particularly among Arizona’s Latino communities.
It comes as a surprise, therefore, that Pence would think backing Arpaio is a smart move. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza pointed out, Arpaio is currently the lowest-ranked candidate in the Republican Primary. Now granted, those statistics can always change, but even then there is evidence to suggest that he would still fall behind likely-Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema.
The country has already seen the Trump effect fail multiple times. During the Alabama Special election, for example, Trump’s choice of Luther Strange lost to Roy Moore, and when Trump switched support to Moore, the alleged child creeper lost to Democrat Doug Jones. Other Republicans supported by the President like Ed Gillespie also lost their respective elections.
Arpaio’s campaign platform is already highly-reminiscent of the worst parts of Trump’s own domestic policies: cracking down on illegal immigration, boosting the bloated military budget, and fighting for the Second Amendment among other right-wing fever dreams. Having Pence’s public support only confirms what the majority of Americans, and more importantly the majority of Arizonans, knew: that Arpaio is nothing more than a mini-Trump leaving his criminal prints around the countryside.
With support for Trump declining and the Democrats planning a major comeback with the 2018 midterms, Pence’s decision can safely be deduced as a mistake. As Cillizza writes, giving Arpaio the Republican nomination “would be a disaster for Republicans clinging to a one-seat margin in the Senate. Arizona is one of only three GOP-held seats the party has to defend this November — and it can’t afford to lose it before the general election even starts.”
Image by Gage Skidmore/Flickr
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