Ron Elving

Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professional in Residence at American University, where he is now an adjunct professor. In this role, Elving received American University's 2016 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown University.

He has been published by the Brookings Institution and the American Political Science Association. He has contributed chapters on Obama and the media and on the media role in Congress to the academic studies Obama in Office 2011, and Rivals for Power, 2013. Ron's earlier book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster and is also a Touchstone paperback.

During his tenure as the manager of NPR's Washington coverage, NPR reporters were awarded every major recognition available in radio journalism, including the Dirksen Award for Congressional Reporting and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Ron came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, he had been state capital bureau chief for The Milwaukee Journal.

He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California – Berkeley.

For some weeks now, as Bernie Sanders has extended his remarkable and improbable run as a presidential candidate, people have been asking: "What does Bernie want?"

That question is a distant echo of "What does Jesse want?" a relic of the 1988 runner-up candidacy of Jesse Jackson, another "outsider" challenger with a dedicated hardcore following. But more about Jackson in a moment.

If you've ever played three-dimensional chess, you have some notion of what Paul Ryan is dealing with in his political game with Donald Trump.

Except that Ryan's dilemma has more than just three dimensions.

On the first level, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is the highest federal officeholder in the Republican Party. In this role, he is slated to be the chairman of the party's national convention in July. And in both roles, it is presumed he will back the party's nominee for president.

Donald Trump, the man who would not run, could not be taken seriously and could not win, is the apparent nominee of the Republican Party.

The office in question is the presidency of the United States.

How many times must it be over before it's really over?

This time, the endless 2016 presidential primary looks truly over, so long as you're a Republican.

The Republican Party will not name its nominee until July in Cleveland, but the last suspense went out of the contest Tuesday night in Indiana with Donald J. Trump's latest romp over his last serious competitor.

Ted Cruz has taken pictures with his vice presidential pick, their arms raised in the iconic V for victory pose. Bernie Sanders has talked about his platform, and John Kasich held a news conference to review plans for upcoming primaries and the convention in Cleveland.

What's going on here? Don't these guys know they're losing?

Front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are nearing the numbers of delegates each needs for a first-ballot victory at their respective conventions. Indiana's primary this week could make this all but inevitable.

Everyone knew Iowa would matter — and New Hampshire, too. The other February contests got a lot of attention, as did Super Tuesday and the mega-states like New York. And, yes, late in the season, you heard people saying, it might all come down to California.

But when did anyone know to get excited about Indiana?

It comes late in the season, with the great majority of states voting sooner and allocating the great majority of delegates, so no one seemed to give a hoot about the Hoosier State — the one and only primary on May 3.

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A powerful wind swept across the 2016 presidential race Tuesday night as the political pendulum came swinging back with a vengeance.

Routed in Wisconsin just two weeks ago, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stormed back to take the high-stakes primary in their home state of New York in convincing fashion. Each won about three-fifths of the vote and widened their already imposing leads among pledged delegates.

If Bernie Sanders surprises pollsters and confounds expectations in the New York primary on Tuesday, April 19, his backers and staff will trumpet the effect of his ninth debate with rival Hillary Clinton on the night of April 14.

They will say the relentlessly aggressive strategy Sanders pursued in the latest CNN debate, with its steady stream of attacks on Clinton, provided the defining moment in a long campaign for a nomination that remains up for grabs.

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The U.S. Constitution says that "We the People" are the source of political authority in America. But just who are "the people"? That's a big and basic political question, and today the Supreme Court gave its answer — in a unanimous decision.

The court ruled that the total population as defined by the Census Bureau should be used when counting people for political purposes. That means all persons residing in a particular state or district are to be counted, not just those who are eligible to vote.

Tomorrow, Wisconsin's primary is poised to do something it has not done in more than 30 years. It is about to deal a blow to a presidential front-runner.

Still more amazing is the fact the state's primary voters are expected to throw some shade on both the Democratic and Republican front-runners, an unimaginable result in the long era since World War II.

There remains a chance — or at least a hope — that the violent storm blowing in over American politics this primary season will move on without further damage to the country.

More specifically, there is a chance — or at least a hope — that the violence witnessed at recent rallies for Donald Trump will subside. And that those most inclined to physical confrontation might step back from the brink.

But the videos of violent scuffles at the aborted Trump rally in Chicago on Friday continue to play on cable TV, keeping the wound fresh.

This year's campaign is headed toward an epic clash of Republicanism at the Cleveland convention this summer. But it's not the first time the party has been rocked by turbulence ahead of its convention. Again and again since 1912, splits between establishment GOP figures and the party's most ardent conservatives have hobbled the party's performance in November.

Here's a look at the drama that has come before:

After one more debate among the Republican contenders for president, the postgame conversation was once again dominated by Donald Trump's behavior.

But for once, it was about his good behavior. He did not shout or fulminate, nor did he pout or belittle his opponents or joust with the moderators.

Once upon a time, the Democratic National Committee had a plan for just four debates among the party's candidates for president. The general feeling among activists was that too many debates risked overexposing the candidates, their differences and the divisions within the party.

There had been too many debates, they felt, in 2008. It was just bad politics.

The latest day of primary voting was bad news for one leading candidate, good news for another and a setback for popular campaign narratives in both parties.

You may have heard that Hillary Clinton was about to extend her Super Tuesday dominance to Mississippi and Michigan, putting the campaign of Bernie Sanders on the ropes once and for all. The Clinton story seemed all the more plausible given her feisty show in her seventh debate with Sanders and the struggle he seemed to have in more populous states.

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Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In their seventh debate, this time in Flint, Mich., Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed on the root causes of that city's drinking water crisis. They both called for a massive federal intervention and investigation of the lead poisoning there and urged that the state's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, either resign or be recalled.

But the two Democratic candidates also clashed over the role of trade deals in the deterioration of Michigan's economy, the usefulness of the Export-Import Bank and the state of manufacturing in America generally.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Something is happening in the Republican Party that has not happened in living memory.

The party of unity, tradition, order and hierarchy is breaking apart over one man who personifies the concept of disruption.

Donald Trump's so-far inexorable advance toward the Republican presidential nomination has divided the party. This divide is not like the garden variety primary fights of recent cycles. It goes beyond the familiar squabbles of the party's postwar era (center versus right, moderate versus conservative, eastern versus western).

The results of the biggest voting day in the presidential contest thus far may not have been everything that front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had hoped, but they were enough to set the course for the remainder of the nominating season.

And they were surely enough to intensify the pressure on their respective rivals.

Washington was actually talking about someone other than Donald Trump on Monday, and that someone was not another presidential candidate. It was Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

People were talking about Thomas because Thomas was talking. In the Supreme Court chamber, during oral arguments, the 67-year-old Thomas asked multiple questions. There might seem to be nothing out of the ordinary in that, except that Thomas had gone since February 2006 hearing hundreds of oral arguments without asking a single question.

With every state that voted in February, the contours of the 2016 presidential election changed. Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada all transformed the landscape in both parties.

On Saturday night, in South Carolina, the Earth moved once again. Hillary Clinton won, as expected, but the breadth and depth of her victory were breathtaking. She prevailed by more than 47 percentage points in the most populous state to vote thus far, winning by more than twice the margin of her loss to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire on Feb. 9.

In their tenth debate with Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally got real.

The two first-term senators, who have been chasing Trump in the polls and in February vote tallies, came at him on every issue their opposition research teams could muster.

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