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.

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.

It's big.

The five remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination meet tonight in Houston, Texas, the biggest city in the biggest state holding a primary on March 1, which is Super Tuesday, which is the biggest voting day so far in 2016 – and the biggest all year besides election day in November.

Whoever prevails tonight gets a long leg up toward being the biggest vote-getter on Tuesday. And whoever sits on top after Tuesday is going to be increasingly hard to deny.

The Nevada caucuses on the Republican side were a five-card game, and The Donald once again drew the ace.

The other "face cards" were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, with Rubio once again edging his fellow senator by a narrow margin.

But it scarcely mattered. Their shares combined fell shy of Donald Trump's 46 percent. And no one else had so much as a nickel's worth.

Saturday night was a great time for victory speeches. The winners in Nevada and South Carolina each gave one. Some of the losers did, too.

Two candidates who had been fading in the latest polls came back to win — and crow about it. Several others who fell short of their hopes still claimed to have exceeded expectations.

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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.

Sometimes it takes a Sunday morning to see how much damage was done Saturday night.

So it was this weekend, in New Hampshire and in the broader national conversation about the 2016 presidential race.

On Saturday night, many observers seized on the meatiest moment from the GOP debate staged here — perhaps the most salient moment of all the debates so far. It was the clash between Chris Christie and Marco Rubio that turned into a stunning exposé of Rubio's technique.

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.

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."

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So many candidates ran for president this year that some people joke there could be a playoff system, as in sports.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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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.

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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.

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It was late summer when America began to "feel the Bern," and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the beneficiary of that warm-weather bump, still sees himself as hot on the campaign trail to the White House.

Sanders sat down Wednesday with Steve Inskeep, host of NPR's Morning Edition, to review his own remarkably resilient campaign. Inskeep asked the self-described Democratic socialist from Vermont if he sees a path to the Democratic nomination.

Nebraska's Ben Sasse was elected to the U.S. Senate a year ago this week, one of a dozen Republicans who first won seats that day as their party captured its first majority in the storied chamber in eight years.

And like many of the 5,000 men and women who preceded him in the Senate, he soon came to regard that old sobriquet "World's Greatest Deliberative Body" with a certain irony — if not bitterness.

The Republican presidential race entered a new phase Wednesday night as the outsider candidates, who dominated the first two debates, were upstaged by several of their office-holding rivals — and by a budding controversy over the conduct of the third debate itself.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we want to look ahead to the week in politics in this country. Joining us is NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving. Hi, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Michel.

Joe Biden summoned the attention of the nation at noon Wednesday in the Rose Garden of the White House, where he shared his thoughts and feelings about running for president.

"Unfortunately," the vice president said, "I believe we're out of time — the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination."

Biden said he had thought that even this late in the year, the window of opportunity might still be open for him.

"I've concluded that it's closed," Biden said.

The House is back for its first business day after a 10-day break, and the first item of business is a big one: finding a leader.

Speaker John Boehner has said he is resigning at month's end. The Republican conference met to choose a successor, but Boehner ended the session when his No. 2, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, withdrew as a candidate.

Though it holds immense power, the House speakership seems like the worst job in Washington these days. Current Speaker John Boehner wants to leave, but after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the contest, it could be anybody's race. Rep. Paul Ryan doesn't want to do it, though he's been prodded, and it's not clear any other candidate has enough consensus to win on the House floor.

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