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.

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

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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/.

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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.

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

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We're going to turn now to NPRs Ron Elving here in the studio. So Ron, just a recap - Bernie Sanders projected to have one Vermont, Hillary Clinton projected to have one Virginia and Georgia. And yet the Republican race - too close to call.

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.

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.

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

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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.

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

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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?

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