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 is also a professorial lecturer and Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University, where he has also taught in the School of Communication. In 2016, he was honored with the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. 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 manager of NPR's Washington desk from 1999 to 2014, the desk's 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.

There was something different about the Democratic debate this week, compared with the earlier rounds this summer. Something was happening that was hard to pin down, but it was palpable. Not the contrast of night and day, but perhaps the difference between dusk and dawn.

It's a critical difference, and it comes at a crucial time. Because the Trump presidency these candidates are competing to truncate has reached what may be a critical juncture. But more of that in a moment.

Questions will linger about President Trump's aborted plan to host peace talks between Afghanistan's elected leader and representatives of the Taliban, but one aspect of that ill-starred rendezvous is relatively easy to understand — the proposed location at Camp David.

The venue, a federal facility in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland about 70 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., has been associated in the past with U.S. presidents and momentous meetings.

Many heads got scratched this week when President Trump doubled down on his erroneous claim that Alabama had been in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

Apparently relying on a map that warned of high winds, or another showing hypothetical paths for the storm, the president over the weekend insisted Alabama was "in the crosshairs." At midweek, sitting in the Oval Office, he held up a map on which someone using a marking pen had ballooned the area of actual hurricane threat to include Alabama.

Week In Politics

Aug 31, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We're watching Hurricane Dorian as it heads towards the U.S. and the storm on the economic horizon and clouds of tear gas in the streets of Hong Kong. NPR's senior Washington editor and correspondent Ron Elving joins us. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

"How does one man have so much power?"

One hears that question asked in Washington a lot these days, often with exasperation and bewilderment.

And it is not always a reference to President Trump.

Quite often, the man in question is Mitch McConnell, the Republican senator from Kentucky.

The man who calls himself the "Grim Reaper" — of signature Democratic initiatives.

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET

On the presidential campaign trail in Iowa and on the op-ed page of The New York Times, former Vice President Joe Biden has made the case for going back to a nationwide ban on assault weapons and making it "even stronger."

Some have reacted with quizzical expressions: "Back?" "Stronger?"

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The second night of the Democratic debates in Detroit did not stray from its predicted script: It was open season on front-runner Joe Biden right from the start.

But it was also something of a free-for-all, with every candidate for himself or herself. And the intensity and outcome of the exchanges may have come as a surprise to some of the people onstage.

Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Detroit was widely expected to pit the two leading progressives in the field against each other. Instead, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had each other's backs in fending off the other eight aspirants onstage.

They gave as good as they got, and emerged at least as strong as either was going in. That was particularly good news for Sanders, who had been perceived as ceding ground to Warren in recent months.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

With his latest round of attacks on four first-year members of Congress who are women of color, President Trump has once again touched the raw nerve of racism in American life.

He has also tapped into one of the oldest strains in our politics — the fear and vilification of immigrants and their descendants.

When history looks back on the first round of debates among Democrats in the 2020 presidential cycle, it will see a generational milestone.

Both nights of the twin bill in Miami put the spotlight on a national party in transition, loosening the bonds of its past and looking ahead to new personalities to propel its future.

As President Trump attends the G-20 summit in Japan this week, a score of Democrats who want his job are debating in Miami — vying for a nomination that looks increasingly worth having.

Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET

The founders of American democracy could not have anticipated the technology of the 21st century or many of the other changes that have redefined the republic they created. But they clearly foresaw one challenge that faces the inheritors of their handiwork – the threat of foreign interference in our elections.

America is about to be reintroduced to John Dean, the man whose cool, calm and controversial testimony in the Watergate investigation began the public demolition of President Richard Nixon.

As he spoke to the Senate's special investigating committee on June 25, 1973, Dean and his owlish glasses were imprinted on the national consciousness, his appearance carried live on all three TV networks and watched by tens of millions.

Michael Wolff's new book about President Trump, Siege: Trump Under Fire, offers many surprising stories — but its power to shock may be limited.

Most Americans have long since decided what they think of Trump. And most people who pay attention to such books have made up their minds about Wolff, as well.

The presidency of Donald Trump reached a new and ominous phase this week in its confrontations with opponents within the government.

Beleaguered by investigations on several fronts, the president made a show of breaking off negotiations with Democrats in Congress on an array of legislative issues and vowing he would not relent until they ended the probes.

The latest book-length tell-all on life inside President Trump's White House has appeared, and it's just as unsparing about dysfunction and deception as all those earlier versions by journalists, gossip mavens and former staffers. Maybe more so.

The difference is that the president likes this one.

Or at least he says he likes it. And it's probably not because of the catchy title (Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election), or any previous works by the author, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The news world is ravenously awaiting the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference.

But Attorney General William Barr's two trips to the Capitol last week strongly suggest that the version of the report he releases will only whet the appetites of many in Congress and beyond for more information.

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