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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Democracy is a party for my Presidential Press Posse

Deep inside the Spokane den of Democrats, a lawyer sidles up to Tom Keefe, former Spokane County Democratic chairman and bodyguard member of my election night Presidential Press Posse.

Though hours away from The Verdict, the televised voting results being broadcast at the Lincoln Center are already causing consternation, if not constipation.

Noting the spread of red, the lawyer remarks that he didn’t realize there were so “many angry people out there.”

“Oh, I knew they were out there,” replies the quick-tongued Keefe. “I just didn’t expect ’em to vote.”

Ah, but a new day has dawned, my fellow Americans.

Our great nation will be run soon by a highly popular orange-haired former reality TV game show host.

In that regard, I think all of you – no matter how you may have voted in this burning-down-the-house of an election – can join me in thanking God that Lobo, the Trump dog, didn’t bite anyone Tuesday night.

Lobo is a large and burly German shepherd. He is also the historic first canine to shatter the Alpo Ceiling and join my Presidential Press Posse tour of partisan shenanigans.

The Press Posse is one of The Spokesman-Review’s oldest traditions.

Ever since Taft beat Charles Barkley in a runoff, I have selected one diehard supporter of each major party to tag along with me on my journalistic mission.

This time it was a no-brainer as to who the Trumpster would be.

Laura Renz sealed the deal by emailing a photo of her service dog along with a plea to join the Posse. There was Lobo, cuddled next to an “I am … Deplorable” bumper sticker.

“You’re both in!” I told her in a phone call.

Rick Nesbitt fulfilled the role of confirmed Hillary wonk.

Nesbitt is a union rep for the Washington Federation of State Employees. I’ve known Nesbitt ever since he was a fresh-faced kid straight out of Eastern Washington University and pursuing my own profession.

After a year or so of starvation, however, he wised up and found a real job.

Rounding out the Posse were my pals and bodyguards Scott Cooper and Keefe, who both swore a sacred oath to protect me at all cost.

“If anything happens,” vowed Keefe, “I’ll be first to run for help.”

The Posse met up in The Spokesman-Review lobby, where I gave Laura and Rick a Press Posse badge and bag of goodies. We then rode the elevator to the newsroom for a wonderful surprise tour by new editor, Rob Curley.

“This is where he could fire me,” I told my Posse members while visiting Curley’s office.

Of special interest was seeing all the planning and effort that had gone into the stellar 16-page election section that was distributed as a bonus in our Wednesday newspaper.

Amazing work, gang!

Leaving The Review in our wake, we all piled into the black Ford Expedition. I rented this beast for the evening to not only look presidential, but to have something massive enough to navigate all the chasms in our still-torn up downtown thoroughfares.

We motored to the Lincoln Center and then later to the Republicans, who were woozy with victory inside the posh Davenport Grand Hotel.

During the ride, Laura told us about the wreck on her motorcycle that practically killed her and left her in need of a service dog.

On that happy note, here are some of my favorite moments from the evening.

We barely enter the Lincoln Center when a young man named Dan Ritz tells me how much he likes my column. I’m impressed. Members of the Millennial Generation aren’t known for giving newsprint the time of day. So I ask Dan what he likes about my stuff. “They say you’re an anarchist,” he responds. Good enough.

Joanne Fleming tells us that while Hillary Clinton may own the ticket, she remains a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders. How staunch? The self-proclaimed “Berniecrat” says she actually wrote in his name on her ballot. No wonder Hillary’s in trouble.

I pay my respects to the ever-entertaining Sally Jackson, legendary outspoken Democrat from Spokane Valley. “Take a good look,” she growls. “I’m 85, and I could drop dead tomorrow.”

Besides my own “Grumpy Cat for President” garb, Mike Lynch sports the best T-shirt. “McCartney-Starr 2016,” it reads. “Love is all you need.” I could vote that ticket.

Before leaving the Lincoln Center, Kay Wright McGlocklin offers the following poem: “The election is over. Let bitterness pass. We’ll pet your elephant and you can kiss my …”

The Republicans are happier than hamsters on crack. That’s understandable what with the continued uptick in electoral votes for Trump, the candidate most of the party treated like rodent droppings.

State Sen. Mike Baumgartner tells me he’s been made an honorary Samoan for his defense of Robert Barber, WSU’s suspended brawling footballer. The downside, he explains with a wince, is that he may have to get one of those tribal tattoos that are applied with a lot of painful pounding.

Chauncy Welliver, Lord Mayor of Hillyard and former heavyweight boxing champ of, um, somewhere like Auckland, receives a Clark bar from my stash of Halloween leftovers. “Doug Clark for president,” Welliver starts yelling to the crowd. No political support has ever been bought for less.

Realizing The End is nigh, Posse Democrat Nesbitt bails. “I want to go fishing before Trump makes it illegal,” he declares on his way out.

Lon Gibby stops by. We wind up sharing our love of guitars for a half-hour. Libby’s a good guy and this might be the most refreshing moment of my evening.

Laura the Trumpster shows me the stun gun she carries and tells me all about her many firearms. “I think my dad wanted a boy,” she says.

“I haven’t felt like this since Nixon got elected,” moans a dour Keefe.

With the party all but over, we head back to the Expedition and soon say so long to Keefe, Renz and the silent, stoic Lobo.

Before heading home to the South Hill, I take Cooper on another elevator ride to the newsroom.

We’re just in time to see some talking TV head declare the election for our newest Disappointer in Chief, Donald J. Trump.

Let the bellyaching begin!

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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