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.

This year's election was among the most anticipated and perhaps most consequential in U.S. history.

But it was not an easy election to celebrate. The results rolled in over several days and sometimes seemed confusing. Even now, President Trump has refused to concede. While the outcome is not really in doubt, it is still disputed by the ousted president and his most fervent followers.

In the spring of 2004, a young state legislator was driving home from a campaign event in rural Illinois when he got a phone call from Washington. A voice asked if he would be interested in giving the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that summer in Boston.

"That I felt neither giddy nor nervous said something about the sheer improbability of the year I'd just had," that legislator now recalls in his new memoir, A Promised Land.

For weeks, the world wondered whether President Trump would win a second term. Now that election officials and observers have declared his opponent "President-elect Joe Biden," the world wonders whether Trump will concede.

So far, the president has not. Instead, he has said that he won the election "if you count the legal votes" and that he will pursue numerous challenges to the vote-counting process in court. Earlier in the fall, he had said he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power unless the election was "rigged."

Biden will take the presidency during the "most difficult time in history."

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Not since the beginning of time has anyone ever made greater use of superlatives than Donald Trump. He has constantly been "the most" this, "the least" that and always the "best ever."

What do you do when Election Day is a week away, you're down in the polls and more than 60 million votes have already been cast?

If you're President Trump, you hit the road. And you hit it big time, mounting rally stages and treating big raucous crowds to big servings of red meat.

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The Week In Politics

Oct 10, 2020

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No sooner had it become known that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus than controversy arose over the amount and detail and truthfulness of the information about his condition that was coming from the White House.

President Trump has been hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. Doctors gave an update on his condition Saturday.

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Through the years President Trump has been in office, Americans have grown accustomed to hearing of "norms" ignored and "guardrails" broken. Trump has fulfilled his supporters' desire for an unconventional leader unbound by the sort of unwritten rules other presidents have followed.

Rarely in American history has the death of anyone other than a sitting president unleashed so much political anxiety as the passing of U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With all the grief her death caused for millions — and all the respectful tributes that poured in, even from adversaries — fundraising appeals were popping up on Twitter the same night keyed to the politics of her replacement.

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster wants you to know he has not written the book you probably wanted to read — and he says it right up front.

"This is not the book that most people wanted me to write ... a tell-all about my experience in the White House to confirm their opinions of Donald Trump," the author warns in his preface.

That might have been "lucrative," he says, but it would not be "useful or satisfactory for most readers."

No reader should skip the prologue to Bob Woodward's new book on President Trump, because the author puts his best scene on its first page.

Woodward's Rage opens on the Oval Office, where the two top officials from the president's national security team are telling him that COVID-19 is a major threat to the U.S. and far worse than the flu.

"This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency," says Robert O'Brien, the national security adviser (Trump's fourth). "This is going to be the roughest thing you face."

The 2020 Republican National Convention this week began and ended with two performances by the man who designed it all, President Donald J. Trump.

Most of the attention went, of course, to the final night's event, when a live audience saw him "profoundly accept" his renomination in an hourlong speech delivered on the South Lawn of the White House. Backed by a forest of American flags, the president looked out upon members of his family and staff, members of his Cabinet and members of his party in Congress.

It turns out going virtual has its virtues.

Just ask the Democrats, grinning and basking after their first-ever online national convention this week.

No one knew what to expect, and there were plenty of doubters looking for glitches, flubbed cues and dead air — not to mention lots of dull and boring segments. Most significantly, we feared all involved would miss the sense of history being made in real time.

When former Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. becomes the Democratic Party's official nominee for president on Thursday, he will complete two historic and improbable comebacks.

Earlier this year, Biden rose from roadkill status in early February voting to effectively claim the nomination by the end of March.

At some point in the future, it is entirely possible that the full details of Donald Trump's business affairs, personal imbroglios and political maneuverings will be laid bare to the public. Should that happen, it is easy to imagine much of the world wondering how the man got away with so much for so long.

President Trump has long been a champion of what's been called positive thinking — the power to make things that you want to see happen actually happen.

"Affirm it, believe it, visualize it, and it will actualize itself." Such mantras have characterized much of the Trump story from his childhood when he first absorbed it from the man who first spoke it, Norman Vincent Peale.

Norman Vincent Peale was born in 1898 in the town of Bowersville, Ohio, son of a physician who also became a Methodist minister. Another Ohioan named William McKinley was president, wrapping up the Spanish-American War and setting the stage for what would be known as the American Century.

It was a time of expanding commerce and industry — an era of skyrocketing confidence – and Peale would be part of carrying that spirit forward through a century of his own.

This week, two more books appeared on the ever-widening shelf of literature lambasting President Trump and his presidency. One sold nearly 1 million copies on its first day, based on the name of the author and weeks of publicity. But the other is the better book to buy for insight into what Trump's rise and rule really mean — here and abroad — for democracy in our time.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court settled an important question about the function of the Electoral College that elects the U.S. president. But it did not address the question about the Electoral College.

The high court decided not only that states can require electors to follow the will of the popular vote within their states — but also that they can penalize or replace electors who fail to do so. The court's vote was unanimous.

People once wished each other well on Independence Day by saying: "Have a glorious Fourth!"

A bit antique, perhaps, in the best of times, but a phrase you still heard. Until now.

Can you imagine well-wishers offering that sentiment this weekend, without a trace of irony or a wistful look?

Not likely, not in the summer of 2020, the summer of resurgent COVID-19 cases, of restaurants and beaches that had reopened only to close again — of workers recently returned to work who have been laid off again.

One of the oldest traditions in American politics is "running against Washington," which has been a common campaign theme since the city was first created as the capital and the home of the federal government.

In fact, candidates for president and Congress have found running against Washington one of the surest ways to get there. Some do it to stay there, too.

Even before President Trump went to court in an attempt to block publication of John Bolton's memoir, millions were waiting to hear what the former national security adviser had to say about Trump and the Ukraine affair that got him impeached.

After reading Bolton's The Room Where It Happened, few can wonder why the president wanted to stop it. While Bolton's report arrives too late to affect impeachment, it surely bolsters the case against Trump that was presented in the Senate trial.

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In 2020, things happen that never happened before. And right now, they seem to be happening all at once.

Atop a global pandemic and resulting recession, May and June have given us another dimension of head-spinning events. Following two weeks of widespread street protests after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, a change of attitude seems to have swept through the national culture like a sudden wind.

What will official Washington do in the wake of the protests and destructive violence that scarred city after city in recent days, including the capital itself?

Unrest does not stop on command. If there is a pause in the mayhem, it does not mean that the rage has been spent or the wounds have healed.

Any effort to restore confidence in each other will be complicated by the nation's preexisting conditions of pandemic and recession — not to mention the persistent condition of racism in American life and law enforcement. Fires flare up again if not extinguished at the source.

Americans are suddenly consumed with multiple crises. Even before the outbreak of social unrest following yet another African American's death in police custody, the ravages of COVID-19 and economic free fall had disrupted the national life.

All of which means conditions are ripe for President Trump to assume more power and move closer to the status of autocratic ruler, says New Yorker writer Masha Gessen in a new book Surviving Autocracy.

Two new polls out this week indicate a majority of Americans fear a "second wave" of COVID-19 cases in the near future, which may be washing away the chances for traditional presidential nominating conventions this year.

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