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.

Just 48 hours after his landslide win in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders was in Milwaukee, Wis., reminding everyone how far he had come in his quest for the presidency — and perhaps realizing how far he still has to go.

New Hampshire prides itself on surprising people with the outcome of its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. This year, though, the top winner in each party was the candidate the polls had long predicted would win.

So if there was any surprise, it was that the candidates those polls had been smiling on were Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Less than a year ago, neither would have been thought a likely candidate, let alone a plausible winner.

Who will drop out after losing in New Hampshire? Possibly no one. (On to South Carolina! This race is still wide open! We can win this thing!)

We'll consider the real reasons to stick around in a moment.

But for several candidates, whether they make it official or not, the Granite State will be the rock on which their ships ran aground.

Their campaigns may stagger on into a zombie phase, but it will not affect the outcome of further proceedings.

At midnight Tuesday the residents of tiny Dixville Notch, N.H., will welcome camera crews for the quadrennial ritual of casting the first votes in the nation's first presidential primary.

The remote town near the Canadian border is so small that it has only a roomful of registered voters and zero racial diversity. Its votes in recent cycles have been unreliable indicators of who will win the primary.

But the cameras will be there, nonetheless, because it is first, and because it is a tradition.

Before they got down to debating the big issues Thursday night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wrangled over one big word: progressivism.

Which of them was the true progressive? Was Clinton a progressive at all?

Sanders has long billed himself as a progressive, also describing himself as a "democratic socialist." He has not been known for flirting with the term "moderate." But Clinton has at times willingly chosen the latter label.

The fifth debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was their first appearance as a duet, and that helped to highlight some of their harmony – even as it heightened their crescendos of dissonance.

With Martin O'Malley having suspended his campaign earlier in the week, the two remaining rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination met in New Hampshire on Thursday night — on stage together for nearly two hours.

"I happen to respect the secretary very much; I hope it's mutual," said Sanders.

And Clinton reciprocated:

Iowa has once again proved its perennial resistance to political inevitability and the power of personality.

In this year's iteration of the Iowa caucuses, national polling leaders Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had their campaign momentum slowed in significant ways by party activists who preferred their rivals.

A big win in Iowa might have set either leader on the path to a relatively easy nomination. But that was not to be, and now both Trump and Clinton face difficult and perhaps protracted struggles to overcome rivals they had hoped to dismiss.

The Iowa caucuses are known for hoisting the little-known hopeful to glory. But for each skyrocket that actually launched here, many more have fizzled on the pad.

The slick talkers auditioning for media gigs.

The household name whose prominence fails to translate.

The ambitious up-and-comer seeking name recognition for the future.

The nonpolitician who strikes a nerve the year before the election year.

After Iowa, the bell tolls for these.

For every Obama ...

As any bridge player can tell you, the game is different when there is no trump.

On Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, the seventh debate among major candidates for president in the Republican Party set a new standard in both substance and tone. And it did so because the front-runner in the 2016 nomination fight, Donald J. Trump, did not attend.

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

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hillary Clinton has a vision, which some would call a fantasy, of Washington working again the way it once did.

"I'm interested in us solving problems together," said Clinton, speaking Wednesday to NPR's Ari Shapiro.

"I'm interested in finding good ideas whether they're from Republicans or Democrats, getting people around the table, and trying to make progress on behalf of our country."

Shapiro sounded properly skeptical. How can you govern in such a fashion in such divisive times?

Hillary Clinton encountered rougher seas Sunday night in her latest meeting with her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. Both Sen. Bernard Sanders and former Gov. Martin O'Malley questioned her veracity and intensified their criticism of her policy positions and campaign financing.

Donald Trump did not dominate the sixth debate among the most prominent Republican candidates for president, but he may have been its prime beneficiary.

Trump held his own through an evening of challenges from the FOX Business Network moderators and from six rivals with him on stage. There were plenty of slings and arrows all around, yet Trump did nothing to discourage his fans while watching his main rivals carve each other up. He even had a moment of thoughtful connection while defending his "New York values."

It was perhaps fitting that the most memorable passage of President Obama's final State of the Union speech should come near its end.

After nearly an hour on the podium, Obama paused and slipped into a mode more suited to a pulpit. In the next few minutes, the president tried to address the state not of the American union but of American politics.

To deliver a presidential address to a joint session of Congress is surely a high privilege, but to do so at the start of one's eighth and final year in that office is a rare occasion indeed.

The U.S. had 43 presidents before Barack Obama, but only five of them stood before the Congress as Obama will this Tuesday night — as twice-elected incumbents beginning their final year with a report on the State of the Union.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Or A Virtual Visit From St. Marco

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, who first published his version 192 years ago today.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
Not one candidate spoke — no, not even Rand.
Not a voice could be heard at a town hall or forum,
Not even Pataki or poor Rick Santorum.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Donald Trump entered the fifth Republican debate of this presidential contest on Tuesday night as the national front-runner by leaps and bounds. Other candidates have risen and fallen, but the legion of Trump's support has not wavered.

If anything, the billionaire's backing has swollen to even greater proportions since his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. That idea has taken a beating in the media and has been endorsed by exactly none of the other presidential hopefuls. Yet Trump's message continues to resonate with his legions of followers.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Only 19 percent of Americans — about 1 in 5 — say they trust the government "always or most of the time," according to a study released by the Pew Research Center on Monday. Yet clear majorities also favor the government taking "a major role" in fighting terrorism, responding to natural disasters, keeping food and drugs safe, protecting the environment, strengthening the economy and improving education.

Political leaders in the national and state capitals have begun raising barriers against refugees coming to the U.S. from Syria and Iraq, spurred by fear in the land that refugees might bring with them some of the dangers they were fleeing.

Hillary Clinton entered the second debate of the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination with far less to prove than she had in the first, and, in the end, she probably achieved far less as well.

But for the time being, at least, she may be able to afford it.

The fourth debate among the leading Republican candidates for president filled the historic Milwaukee Theatre with cheers, laughter and occasional boos, but it probably did not alter the dynamics among the eight featured contestants.

No one seemed to stumble or scintillate so notably as to change the pecking order with the first voting, now fewer than a dozen weeks away in the Iowa precinct caucuses.

It is common knowledge that televised debates between presidential candidates began with Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in the fall of 1960. But few remember that the very first debate to be broadcast featuring White House hopefuls happened a dozen years earlier, and it happened on radio.

Whatever else Jeb Bush's campaign for president might need right now, it doesn't need a renewal of the controversies about his father's and brother's years in the White House.

Yet the release of a new biography of the elder President Bush by journalist and author Jon Meacham has reopened some old wounds and renewed the debate over the Iraq War. Or perhaps that should be wars.

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