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Sheriff David Clarke’s Getting What He Wants—Attention

Issue of the Week

Jan. 24, 2017
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It’s not surprising that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is a huge supporter of Donald Trump. Both are clueless about running an important democratic governmental organization, share rabid right-wing, bigoted views, viciously trash their opponents, apparently to feel better about their shortcomings, and feast on media attention, positive or negative.

What’s so sad about the Clarke-Trump love fest is that it’s one-sided (even Trump was smart enough not to pick Clarke for a Cabinet position) and that it’s also very dangerous. Clarke, as you may remember, oversees a county jail in which four people died in recent months. He’s also called for “pitchforks and torches,” makes extra cash by helping Russians arm themselves and is quick to throw out racist comments about his fellow African Americans. Just last week, Clarke used public resources to intimidate and harass an innocent passenger on his flight, after the passenger dared to ask if Clarke was indeed Clarke, by having his deputies stop the man as he left the plane and delay and question him for no reason. Clarke also harassed the man on his official county Facebook page. In typical Clarke style, just days later, he celebrated Trump’s victory at the “DeploraBall”—an aptly named gathering of brazen right-wingers who are reveling in their crudity and stupidity.

We’re so used to Clarke’s hate-mongering and attention-seeking antics that it’s easy to gloss over his inflammatory statements, like when he said about working with Democrats last week: “The only reason I’ll be reaching across the aisle is to grab one of them by the throat.” Note, of course, that Clarke officially runs as a Democrat on the ballot.

Although we hate to give Clarke the attention he craves and do our best to tune out his immature behavior, newly elected state Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) isn’t going to put up with Clarke’s nonsense. Crowley asked Gov. Scott Walker to remove Clarke from office because of his incompetence with four individuals, including a baby, dying while in his custody and his inflammatory verbal abuse. We applaud Crowley’s attempt to bring some sanity to the Milwaukee County sheriff’s office, but doubt he will be successful unless his request is pushed by average Milwaukeeans who say enough is enough and who speak up loudly and clearly against Clarke’s abusive and incompetent behavior. Clarke, Walker and Trump all share the same bigoted, fact-free universe, where they are always right, always smart, always beloved. It’s going to take more than an angry yet well-reasoned letter to get Clarke out of office and cut off access to his lifeblood—attention from the media—but it is a start. They also need to find a strong candidate to run against him in 2018. Clarke is very beatable. 

To read The Worst Sheriff in America by Joel McNally click here. 

 

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