The Joe Arpaio pardon approved by President Trump on Friday (Aug. 25) ignited a firestorm on Twitter with everyone from average users to celebrities claiming POTUS 45 had given a middle finger to America. However, it's unlikely to hurt Donald Trump and will likely help him.

To understand how this is about more than red meat to racists, one must understand the underlying argument that could bring moderate conservatives back to the fold.

Who Is Joe Arpaio?

To understand how the pardon goes beyond a few fringe right ideas, it is important to understand who "Sheriff Joe" is and how he ended up in need of a pardon.

Arpaio was the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He worked in law enforcement for more than 50 years. During that time, he made some enemies, particularly at the end of his tenure.

To hear the former Sheriff tell it, "holdovers" from the Obama administration engaged in a political witch hunt to get him out of office.

On the flip side, Arpaio was rather openly profiling Latinos to cut down on illegal immigration. That's where the racial component comes into this.

What Do Sheriff Joe's Supporters Say?

Bigotry never really recognizes itself. Most of Sheriff Arpaio's supporters would not group themselves under that classification. To them, Sheriff Joe was using common sense law enforcement measures to uphold federal and state immigration law.

A federal court said otherwise, which is where things get dicey.

Arpaio undoubtedly defied a federal court order and went about his methods in contempt of court. That makes what he did illegal.

However, his supporters -- and the President is one of them -- argue that Arpaio was doing his best to protect The People of Arizona and that the federal government came to this with dirty hands and a political agenda.

That's because the Obama administration ceased upholding federal laws and at one point told the state of Arizona to stand down in its enforcement.

Trump's Racist Dodge

By making this about state's rights, Trump is able to artfully dodge direct accusations of racism and bigotry, at least among his dwindling supporters.

Since taking office, depending on which poll you believe, Trump has seen support recede by about 15 to 20 percentage points.

His Arpaio pardon is likely to serve as a reminder to those non-bigots who had left him that there is still a fundamental war of ideology in America that they're more likely to side with the President on than not.

It may not get him to 50 percent support, but it could get him back to 40; and in an increasingly fissured America, that may be enough to survive 2020.