If You Voted for Donald Trump, You Voted to Pardon Joe Arpaio

As part of taking an adversarial stance against lies and bigotry, the mainstream press must put an end–now–to the endless, fawning profiles of the folks who effectively betrayed this country by voting for Donald Trump.

The folks who gave the former Celebrity Apprentice host the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are ultimately responsible for the pardon of racist criminal Joe Arpaio. They are also ultimately responsible for every last bit of the damage Trump will inflict upon this country.

Trump will surely pardon other abusers of the public trust, especially those who used their office to harm anyone who isn’t a straight white Christian male. The mainstream press will be derelict in its duties if it fails to point out that 62 million Americans effectively endorsed and sanctioned Trump’s actions by virtue of their vote on November 8, 2016.

Think of all the adjectives you have heard about the Arpaio pardon. You’ve probably heard the words “shameful,” “outrageous,” “repulsive,” “disgusting.” The word you should have also heard was “Republican,” because that word also accurately describes the Arpaio pardon (no matter how many Republicans try to run away from that reality.)

The pardon of Arpaio was motivated by the same Republican spirit of hate that gave us Reagan’s embrace of “state’s rights” in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the Willie Horton ads and the McCain-Palin rallies. It was motivated by the same spirit of hate that fueled anti-Latino rhetoric on right-wing radio. In fact, it would not have raised an eyebrow if any other Republican who won the presidency in 2016 pardoned Arpaio, the perfect symbol of the prejudice and scorn Republicans have embraced ever since Barry Goldwater gave the finger to black and brown Americans by opposing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Remember when former Republican National Committee chairmen Ken Mehlman and Michael Steele apologized for the GOP’s Southern Strategy? That apology was all for show, just window dressing. Republicans don’t really regret the Southern Strategy; they just wish Trump was a little more subtle about it.

Remember the late GOP strategist Lee Atwater’s observations about the kinder, gentler rhetorical version of the Southern Strategy? Two questions:

1. Would you really put it past Trump to abandon coded rhetoric and return to the 1954 version of racial politics Atwater described on the 2020 campaign trail (and yes, he could still be in office by then)?

2. Would you also put it past the folks who voted for this man in 2016 to remain loyal to him in 2020, especially against a Democratic opponent those voters have been propagandized into viewing as a handmaiden of Nancy Pelosi, George Soros, the New Black Panther Party and Antifa?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.