Don Gonyea

Even the most optimistic Democrats didn't have South Carolina on the list of Republican U.S. Senate seats they seriously thought they could flip at the start of 2020.

But a little more than two weeks out from Election Day, it's within reach.

Democrat Jaime Harrison — a 44-year-old former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, congressional aide and lobbyist — has risen in the polls and is giving three-term incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham something to worry about this election.

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Ask any Republican strategist about the state of their party in 2020 and you'll get an answer something like this from GOP consultant Antonia Ferrier. "This is Donald Trump's party," she said, "and I don't think that should be much of a surprise."

It's a nondescript, utilitarian room in the bowels of a sports arena. The presidential nomination is on the line. Aides to three candidates still in the contest are haggling with convention staff over who speaks when, will their biographical videos be shown, whose office space is nearest the floor. It's a political junkie's dream. It could be real. But it's not. This is how it played out in a 2012 episode of NBC's prime-time drama The West Wing.

One of a series of reports looking at Joe Biden's potential running mates


Susan Rice has a ready answer when asked about possibly being Joe Biden's pick for vice president.

"Whether I'm his running mate or I'm a door-knocker, I don't mind," Rice said during a recent appearance on NBC's Meet the Press. "I'm going to do everything I can to help get Joe Biden elected and to help him succeed as president."

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President Trump is acknowledging that he may have to temper his expectations, adamant at times, that his acceptance speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention should be a big event in front of thousands of people.

"We're very flexible," Trump said when asked during an interview Tuesday with Gray Television whether he may not have as big a gathering next month as he's planned on to celebrate his renomination to lead the GOP presidential ticket.

A loud and longtime complaint of civil rights activists and police reform advocates is that police unions are part of the problem of police brutality. Unions are designed to protect their members, and when it comes to officers charged with wrongdoing or excessive force, that means police unions are too often protecting bad cops and saving their jobs.

Updated at 7:00 p.m. ET

As President Trump attempts to project an image of America rising out of quarantine and beginning to reopen, he traveled on Tuesday to an Arizona factory that's expanded into production of N95 face masks to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

And while the trip was in part meant to tell a positive story about the Trump administration's response, it also highlights the challenges of the moment.

Teamsters President James Hoffa is cautioning against reopening businesses across the country too quickly, for fear of endangering workers. Hoffa was one of a dozen leaders from the corporate world, labor and trade associations on a conference call with President Trump to discuss that topic Wednesday.

Linda Tripp, the government employee who secretly recorded conversations with Monica Lewinsky in the late 1990s about Lewinsky's affair with President Clinton, has died at age 70.

Tripp's death Wednesday was confirmed by Joseph Murtha, her former attorney. No cause of death was given, but news reports indicated she endured a brief case of pancreatic cancer.

Tripp started working at the White House in the Republican administration of George H.W. Bush and stayed for the early part of the Clinton administration.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate for president, called for a far more urgent and better coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic from the White House, in his first remarks of a new effort to reach voters while the campaign is essentially on hold.

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Seven events, three states, two days.

Mike Bloomberg has wrapped up a barnstorming trip to capitalize on an unsettled Democratic presidential race.

Polls show the billionaire former New York City mayor gaining traction, as onetime front-runner Joe Biden has struggled after very disappointing finishes in the first two contests.

Bernie Sanders won in New Hampshire, with Pete Buttigieg in second. The two essentially tied in Iowa.

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For the second day in a row, we're in the fabulous coffee shop here. It is called Smokey Row Coffee Company in Des Moines...

(CHEERING)

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A top national labor leader is touting a new multilateral trade deal, and says his union side much improved the Trump administration's initial proposal.

The comments from Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, came Wednesday, just before the House overwhelmingly approved the pact called the USMCA.

The new deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada, which now heads to the Senate, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

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Three years after his death in November of 2016, there's a new Leonard Cohen album. It's called Thanks for the Dance, and it was completed and produced by his son, singer-songwriter Adam Cohen. NPR's Don Gonyea speaks to Cohen about putting together this album, which he says he started with his father — with his father's full intention that his son would finish it after his death. Listen in the audio player above and read on for a transcript of their conversation.

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The current tally of 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls is enough to set a record in any previous primary season. But even with the giant number of candidates, the reality is that the winnowing has already begun.

The field is shrinking — slowly — but what's different this time compared to past campaigns is what's driving candidates to pack it in.

Here's what it's not — voters.

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Trump campaign donors are under pressure.

Two high-profile episodes this week could signal a year in which the glare of the campaign usually reserved for candidates pivots to put those who make personal donations to political campaigns in the spotlight.

The first comes courtesy of Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, of San Antonio, who is also the co-chairman of his twin brother Julian Castro's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

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Now let's hear NPR's Don Gonyea. He saw the debate at a Democratic watch party in a movie theater in Maricopa County, Ariz.

January 2016. The New Hampshire primary was just weeks away. Donald Trump slid into a booth at the Red Arrow Diner in downtown Manchester and ordered a deep-fried concoction featuring a cheeseburger topped with mac 'n' cheese and smothered with cheesy sauce.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 presidential candidacy is barely a day old, but it is already ensnared in questions about how the Democratic candidate handled the 1991 sexual harassment accusations by law professor Anita Hill against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Biden appeared on ABC's The View Friday morning and told the show's five female co-hosts: "I'm sorry for the way she got treated." But then he added that people should go back and look at what he said during those hearings, asserting, "I don't think I treated her badly."

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