Well, the United States is now in Day 3 of the bleakest timeline, perhaps the ultimate, cruelest fate the maelstrom year of 2016 has finally thrust upon us all: Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States, meaning he'll have his hands on the levers of power for at least four years, with complete Republican control of both houses of Congress for at least two of them. So, how about all those cabinet appointments ― who will be Trump's homeland security secretary, for example?
Simply put, Election Day 2016 was a political bloodbath for the Democratic Party, and one that's going to live on as a horrible memory in the minds of countless progressives, feminists, anti-racists, and anti-Trump conservatives (even though that last group will thin considerably, now that it's been proven Trumpism is not electorally untenable). And now, in every nook and cranny of government, you'll surely find Trump loyalists, names and faces that this time a year ago seemed impossible to imagine operating in high levels of the federal government. Names like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Corey Lewandowski, and the like.
And, in a development that's just another slap in the face to immigration reform advocates everywhere, here's who's getting the press right now as a possible head of the Department of Homeland Security: Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff who made his name as one of the most anti-immigrant law enforcement officials in the entire country.
Arpaio, 84, finally lost his job on Election Day, and he still faces serious legal problems relating to his treatment of undocumented workers, foremost an upcoming criminal contempt trial for refusing to obey a court order to halt his draconian police sweeps, which rounded up undocumented immigrants and confined them in a scorching outdoor internment camp called "Tent City."
In short, Arpaio is basically the grim vision of a Trump immigration policy manifested in the flesh. For all Trump has been voicing inflammatory rhetoric about how he'll halt undocumented immigration into the United States, build a border wall, and ostensibly round up and kick out millions upon millions living in the United States right now, to this point that's been little more than tough talk from a candidate with no literal power and no history in politics to help assess how he'd actually govern.
By contrast, Arpaio is a man who's been walking the walk of dire (and in the case of his contempt charge, allegedly criminal) actions toward Arizona's undocumented immigrants for years. Suffice to say, for anybody concerned with civil rights in the Trump era, the thought of him presiding over the nation's homeland security apparatus should be chilling in the extreme. His appointment might be a long shot, however, owing to his ongoing legal issues ― Trump won't be president until January, so there's no immediate presidential pardon on the horizon for America's most infamous former sheriff. But make no mistake, this is undoubtedly one of the most worrying cabinet appointment scenarios, from a progressive perspective, that's been floated in the press so far.