Arizona: It Just Got a Lot Worse

Flickr /<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/katerkate/">Katerkate</a>.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the nation’s most draconian immigration law last week, criminalizing illegal immigration (and, many critics say, being a minority), she had a good political reason for doing so: Joe Arpaio.

Joe’s the aging sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona (which includes Phoenix), and his disdain for brown people, civil liberties, federal authority, and Constitutional law are pretty well documented at Mother Jones and elsewhere. A man with a Pravda-esque communications machine that would be the envy of any politician on any level, he lords over Maricopa’s swelling prison population with the swagger of an antebellum South Carolina planter driving his slaves. He’s made prisoners wear pink panties, stuck them in sweltering tents in the desert, screwed with their food rations, cited fake laws, gone after news reporters, and generally made nativism the reason for his existence on this heavenly sphere.

He made arresting Latinos fashionable and, after many run-ins with the feds over such practices, was likely the main inspiration behind Arizona’s new immigration code. In short, Brewer felt she had to sign last week’s immigration bill, because she felt Arpaio’s breath on her neck. She had to appear as tough on brown people as Arpaio does, lest he decide to challenge her in the GOP primary.

So she signed it. And guess what? Arpaio’s still going to run against her. Sources in the sheriff’s department, which will likely double as his campaign staff (no new thing there), say his paperwork’s filed. And on his Twitter account – where you can read about his Washington Post interview today, or his “crime suppression/illegal immigration” operations briefings, or his anger about “out of town critics” – he recently tweeted that his wife wants him to run. And he’s already the frontrunner in Arizona Republicans’ minds.

So why not run? What does he have to fear? Latino turnout in the Phoenix metro area? Problem solved!

Here, then, is to Arizona: one of the prettiest states in the union, soon to be the first breakaway republic in the new confederacy of Inner America.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate