Mega-donor George Soros has continued his march through the heartland of the U.S. criminal justice system. His most recently vanquished foe is Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was running for his seventh term as Maricopa sheriff but was ultimately defeated by the Soros-backed candidate, Paul Penzone. This marks another small yet decisive strategic victory for the investor-turned-philanthropist in his relentless mission to create open societies and maximize freedom for all.
Lessons from the holocaust
Born in Hungary in 1930, Soros was born into a middle class Jewish family. As the Nazis gained strength and began laying waste to much of Europe, Soros’ parents were quick to flee. Unfortunately some of his relatives were not so lucky and perished in Nazi death camps.
Eventually, he was accepted to the London School of Economics and studied under the philosopher Karl Popper. There his worldview began to take shape based on the principles of open societies promoted by his mentor. Unlike many of his peers, Soros initially had no intention of spending a career in finance or even of becoming wealthy. Instead he desired to become a full time academic and focus on philosophy. But ultimately he discovered he could effect far broader change from a position of wealth. Now at 86, George Soros has become one of the most prolific philanthropists in U.S. history.
Small battles can win wars
Ever the able strategist, Soros is known for picking his battles with a general’s skill. Despite high profile losses in presidential elections, Soros has racked up many small victories that have largely stayed off the mainstream radar. A few recent examples are a race in Orlando, Florida where a newcomer ousted the long time incumbent conservative Jeff Ashton in race for district attorney. Ashton had accumulated a record of enforcement and sentencing disparities against minorities that were precisely the kind of target for reform that Soros and his PACs sought. After filling candidate Aramis Ayala’s coffers with over 1.4 million dollars, the previously unknown public defender trounced her incumbent rival in a landslide.
And Soros has undertaken many similar projects within the last year, most of which have been unqualified successes. From Denver to Houston to New Orleans, George Soros has successfully boosted a series of prosecutors from underfunded obscurities to big-city office holders. In fact Soros’ gilded touch, in these cases as in his investments, seems nearly incapable of failing. Of course, focusing on such narrow cases ignores the elephant in the room – presidential politics.
Soros’ major, nay gigantic, failures as a political donor have both come from presidential politics. Between his efforts to defeat Bush and his backing of Clinton, he’s spent over 50 million dollars on presidential campaigns since 2004. Rumor has it he’s out of presidential politics for good. But Soros loves winning. And he’s quickly shaping up to be a superstar PAC operator at the local level.