He was Donald Trump before Trump — his political godfather. The racial profiling, the authoritarian streak, the robust defense of easily refutable lies — all are part of the repertoire of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.
On Tuesday, the man who was emblematic — at least in the Southwest — of Trump’s attempt to hold back the demographic tide of the new America was resoundingly defeated. It was a vote for decency, for common sense, and no small amount of revenge from many of the victims of his strong-arm policies.
After six terms as the chief lawman of the most populous county in Arizona, Arpaio was defeated by a former Phoenix police officer, Paul Penzone, a Democrat.
“There’s a new sheriff in town,” Penzone said. You could say that time, and federal law, finally caught up with the 84-year-old sheriff. He’s been under court order to stop targeting Latinos. Last month, federal prosecutors charged him with criminal contempt for allegedly defying that court order.