Alaskans will decide our political future, not Trump

In his conditional endorsement of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s reelection, former President Donald Trump threw his weight into the Alaska U.S. Senate race in which he has previously endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, a little-known former state commissioner and recent Alaska resident. Mr. Trump insisted Gov. Dunleavy not support U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski for reelection, calling her “disloyal” and “bad.” While I do not know Gov. Dunleavy’s personal views on the U.S. Senate candidates, I have full confidence he will be prudent in an election year without direction from an ex-president.

Despite such withering accusation from Mr. Trump, Sen. Murkowski finds herself in good company with “disloyal” former Vice President Mike Pence, who in the days surrounding the Capitol siege courageously refused to circumvent the Constitution and forsook any path of political safety for himself as he chose duty and the republic over Trump’s lawless efforts to hold onto power. And in so doing, he held this nation back from the brink of a collapsed democracy.

It is not acceptance or lack thereof by Mr. Trump for any candidate that should give us pause, but his stated reason, loyalty to him, that should make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Is fealty to Mr. Trump now the standard of loyalty, or of good and bad? If so, we are on a dark path away from democracy. Mr. Trump’s accusation raises the question, “To whom has Sen. Murkowski been disloyal, and how is she bad?” Was it to the people she serves? Or to her duty? No, it was neither.

The simple truth is, Mr. Trump will not forgive Sen. Murkowski for choosing to follow the dictates of conscience and duty to the Constitution, rather than himself. Her sin? Supporting his impeachment for incitement of insurrection that resulted in a violent mob attack of the Capitol building when it was occupied by a joint session of Congress.

While Mr. Trump’s culpability in the insurrection is subject to debate, the horror of Americans seeing our Capitol locked down with rioters assaulting police officers and hunting members of Congress while calling for the hanging of Vice President Pence is not. Five people died and hundreds were injured, including 138 police officers, four of whom died of suicide within seven months. Sens. Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young all denounced the riotous assault and said they fled for their safety during the Capitol siege. Similarly, Gov. Dunleavy said he was saddened and appalled to see the violence at the Capitol and strongly denounced the extremists who engaged in the assault.

Mr. Trump’s recent indignity to Gov. Dunleavy and all Alaskans in his conditional reelection endorsement reveals there are few offenses to which he will not stoop to salve his wounded pride over President Joe Biden’s election and Sen. Murkowski’s lionhearted courage to hold him to account for his part in incitement of insurrection. And he has now reduced himself to directly meddling with Alaskans, our elected leaders, and our electoral process.

2022 is upon us and Mr. Trump is now a receding shadow, cast only by fear. Most Alaskans want these exhaustingly tumultuous times to end and give way to a period of calm. Regardless of our personal views on national or local politics, I believe the greater share of us don’t like to be pushed around, not even by Mr. Trump.


In light of this, I expect Alaskans will unite in their support of candidates who are less concerned about Mr. Trump ‘coming after them’ then they are about the sacred institutions of our republic, the well-being of our people and our ability to choose a candidate based on a record of service rather than fealty to a person.

Chuck Kopp is a lifelong Alaskan, a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives and a policy consultant.

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Chuck Kopp

Chuck Kopp is a lifelong Alaskan, a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives and a policy consultant.