Ron Elving

Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.

Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.

Under Elving's leadership, NPR has been awarded the industry's top honors for political coverage including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 2002 duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Merriman Smith Award for White House reporting from the White House Correspondents Association and the Barone Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. 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."

Before joining NPR in 1999, Elving served as political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He 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, Elving served as a reporter and state capital bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was a media fellow at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Over his career, Elving has written articles published by The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, and the American Political Science Association. He was a contributor and editor for eight reference works published by Congressional Quarterly Books from 1990 to 2003. His book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. Recently, Elving contributed the chapter, "Fall of the Favorite: Obama and the Media," to James Thurber's Obama in Office: The First Two Years.

Elving teaches public policy in the school of Public Administration at George Mason University and has also taught at Georgetown University, American University and Marquette University.

With an bachelor's degree from Stanford, Elving went on to earn master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley.

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One measure of how impressive Bernie Sanders' crowds have been lately is the respect they get from Donald Trump, a man who clearly believes size matters.

"He's getting the biggest crowds, and I'm getting the biggest crowds," Trump said last week of Sanders in one of his innumerable TV interviews.

He meant it as a putdown of Hillary Clinton, but the left-handed salute to Sanders resonated. Because he has arguably drawn the very biggest crowds this summer, even more "biggest" than Trump's.

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It is possible that Donald Trump will look back on the first Republican presidential debate Thursday night in Cleveland and wish he had not taken part.

That notion seems absurd at first glance. Taking the stage for the season's first clash was widely seen as the zenith of Trump's campaign to date, if not the validation for all his political thrusts dating back to the 1990s.

This post was updated at 12 p.m. ET

The 2016 presidential race has attracted the widest and most diverse field of major candidates in anyone's memory. Yet, even in this crowd, Donald John Trump Sr. stands apart. On Tuesday, he joined that field, two days after his 69th birthday.

Donald Trump, or "The Donald" as he often styles himself, has high national name recognition as a billionaire real estate developer and TV celebrity.

This post has been updated to reflect that Pataki is officially running.

George Pataki announced his presidential candidacy in Exeter, N.H., on Thursday. He's the eighth official Republican entrant in the 2016 race for the White House. The field is expected to double over the next couple of months. Pataki has made numerous visits and a few friends in recent months in the Granite State, home of the first primary in 2016. Still, the mention of his name in most of the country might prompt questions of, "Who?" and possibly, "Why?"

When the Supreme Court returns for its next term in October, among the cases it has agreed to hear is a challenge to a fundamental practice that has governed American elections for generations.

When public-policy makers talk about a state's population, they generally mean the number of human beings living in that state — as counted or estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That applies to a host of political actions, including the apportionment of seats in Congress and the Electoral College votes that choose the president.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, held the floor of the Senate for 10 1/2 hours Wednesday afternoon and evening, airing his objections to the NSA bulk collection of telephone records in the U.S.

Many of the accounts of this lengthy performance referred to it as a filibuster, or a near-filibuster, or some kind of filibuster or other.

It was none of the above.

Before there was George, there was Sid.

George Stephanopoulos is, of course, the ABC news anchor whose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton foundation have reminded the world of his longtime ties to Bill Clinton, for whom he worked from 1991 to 1997.

Jim Wright occupies a kind of shadow territory in Washington memory. He rose to be speaker of the House, arguably the second most powerful job in the country. For a season he challenged the authority of the president on foreign policy. A master of the internal politics and practices of the House, Wright once seemed likely to rule that world for as long as the Democrats held the majority — which he and they and most everyone else expected to last forever.

This week we mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. On our screens and in our memory's eye we can see the helicopters lifting the last, desperate evacuees from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

Loretta Lynch's confirmation as Attorney General was not the only sign of a spring thaw in the Senate this week: Senators also voted for a crackdown on human trafficking, while green shoots of compromise seemed to sprout on other contentious issues, both foreign and domestic.

When the former senator, secretary of state and first lady announced for president on Sunday she smiled into the camera and said, "I'm Hillary Clinton."

Those who were hoping for a return of Hillary's family name, "Rodham," as part of her public identity might have felt some disappointment. For many of her admirers, Hillary Rodham Clinton was the embodiment of aspiration for a woman in public life. This was the woman they wanted to elevate to the White House in her own right.

They said it couldn't be done. And for more than a decade they were right.

But on Thursday, staring at a deadline that could have disrupted health care to millions of seniors, the House got something done.

It voted to fix the flawed formula for compensating doctors who provide services to patients under Medicare. But this time it wasn't just a patch for a few months or years — like the ones Congress has done 17 times since 2003.

Senate Republican Dan Coats of Indiana announced Tuesday — probably surprising no one — that he would not seek another term in 2016. Although he has been a stalwart Republican through a turbulent generation in Washington, Coats seems less at home in the hyper-partisan world of Congress today.

While Coats, 71, said his decision was strictly personal and age-related, he did refer to the "terribly dysfunctional Senate" in an interview with the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter.

You could scarcely imagine a day that better demonstrated the split personality of Wisconsin politics.

On Monday, the state Capitol building in Madison was flooded once again with an angry crowd of protesters. This time the outrage was sparked by a local police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old black man.

It was February of 2009. President Obama had been in office less than a full month. His approval rating was over 60, and nearly 60 percent of the House and Senate seats were held by Democrats. The country seem poised on the edge of a new era, perhaps even another New Deal.

With each week, we have come to expect another jarring outrage from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the new breed of terrorists that is redefining terror.

Put it in the category of things we know for sure that just ain't so.

No sooner did the Democratic National Committee announce it had chosen Philadelphia, Pa., as its 2016 convention site than a lot of us political analyst types popped out the conventional wisdom about "appealing to a swing state in the general election."

It sounds good and it makes sense, as far as it goes. It just doesn't go very far.

Update: 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

President Obama has sent Congress proposed legislative language that would grant him specific permission to make war on the group calling itself the Islamic State.

If approved by the House and Senate, that language will formalize the struggle against the Sunni extremists who are also known as ISIS or ISIL — and are best known for such actions as the torture killing of a captive Jordanian pilot and the beheading of other hostages from around the world.

Breathtakingly broad as its jurisdiction may be, the U.S. Senate does not usually vote on the validity of scientific theories.

This week, it did. And science won. The Senate voted that climate change is real, and not a hoax. The vote was 98-1.

The vote was about an amendment to the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The near-unanimity of the climate change judgment was notable, because so many senators have cast doubt on ideas of "global warming."

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

On the one hand, having the just-elected senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address next week makes perfect sense.

On the other hand, you have to wonder why anyone would want the job. As often as not, the opportunity to speak right after the president does has been the kiss of death for aspiring politicians — especially in the GOP during the Obama years.

Pity the poor guys who are trying to run for president while still serving as governors.

All the media attention this week went to former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, because Romney suddenly decided to call in his chits and get back in the presidential conversation for 2016. Virtually every news organization in North America instantly got wide-eyed about it.

Even before President Obama actually announced his new deferred deportation policy for millions of people in the country illegally, Republicans were everywhere denouncing it and threatening retaliation.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Americans grow up knowing their colors are red, white and blue. It's right there in the flag, right there in the World Series bunting and on those floats every fourth of July.

So when did we become a nation of red states and blue states? And what do they mean when they say a state is turning purple?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Those who do vote in 36 states have a chance to vote for governor this fall. Governors' races tend to be a little less partisan than races for Congress. They're often more about what the guy in the statehouse, or the woman in the statehouse, can get done.

It turns out the Secret Service isn't too good at protecting the White House, and maybe one reason is that we don't want it to be.

Secret Service agents are famously willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president and his family. They are also trained to take the lives of others in defense of their protectees.

But are they equally prepared to do either of those things for the White House itself? Should it be policy for the armed agents around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to use deadly force whether the president or his family is present or not?

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