Zaleski: ‘Trump the biggest loser’

Columnist Jack Zaleski shares thoughts on the midterm election.

Jack Zaleski column mug.jpg
InForum columnist Jack Zaleski is the former editor of The Forum's editorial page.
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Now that Election Day dust and dirt has settled somewhat, it’s time for a post-mortem.

 If there is an overarching headline it’s this: “Trump the biggest loser!” Even as he gins up his lunatic lemmings with yet another run at the presidency (God, help us!), the Nov. 8 scoreboard shows him firmly ensconced in the loser column. Most of the election deniers and other misfits he supported got beat. He now has the distinction of having led the Republican Party through three losing election cycles. Slow learners?

Closer to home, there’s bad news and good news from Minnesota’s 4th Senate District. The bad news was that three-term Sen. Kent Eken of Audubon and Twin Valley did not seek re-election. Eken’s service was distinguished by compassion, intelligence and bipartisanship when possible. His measured and temperate approach to public policy debates served him and his constituents very well. Always available, always honest, Eken’s wisdom will be missed in St. Paul and in his legislative district.

The very good news is that Eken’s seat was won by political newcomer Rob Kupec . The former television weatherman and professional meteorologist converted his genuine interest in politics and governance into an election win over a seriously flawed opponent who spent a lot of money, and lost. Kupec didn’t have a lot of money, but he did have his work ethic going for him. His low-key but focused campaign featured knocking on doors and visiting one-on-one with as many voters as possible. He piled up over 52% of the vote. Kupec’s moderate political philosophy is what Minnesota is all about. He is a worthy successor to Eken.

 In North Dakota, former state Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, got his political hat handed to him in his challenge to U.S. Sen. John Hoeven , picking up a paltry 18.5% of the vote. It was a far poorer showing than the punditry and Becker himself anticipated. A cartoonish Trumpkin/libertarian of the Legislature’s bizarre Bastiat Caucus, Becker stuck both feet in his mouth early in the race by revealing his opposition to federal crop insurance and other farm support programs. He spent the rest of the campaign attempting a foot extraction.


His political ambitions scuppered, Becker can return to his BEK network television program, “No Apologies,” which, if Becker were principled, would be nothing but apologies. Have a little time to waste? Tune in. It’s a jaw-dropping showcase of Becker’s ego, complete with a fawning, doe-eyed sidekick. The broadcast comes off as a cross between the 1950s “Howdy Doody Show” and a smarmy snake oil pitch. Absurd and farcical, but not all that amusing when you realize that some viewers swallow the drivel and twaddle he’s peddling.

Zaleski retired in 2017 after 30 years as The Forum’s editorial page editor. He is the author of a new history of Forum Communications Company . Contact him at or 701-241-5521 or 701-566-3576.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

The wild horses who call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home "are living reminders of the native and cowboy cultures of the wild Dakota Territory that challenged Teddy Roosevelt," columnist Jack Zaleski writes.

Opinion by Jack Zaleski
Zaleski retired in 2017 after 30 years as The Forum’s editorial page editor. He is author of a new history of Forum Communications Co. Contact him at or 701-241-5521 or 701-566-3576.
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