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.

Donald Trump has provided the political world with many moving moments over the past year, but none quite like the whiplash mood swing between his daytime and nighttime performances in Mexico City and Phoenix on Wednesday.

The current presidential campaign may seem unlike any in recent memory, but most of the techniques and strategies we have seen so far hearken back to the politics of the past.

For example, few would dispute that the past week has been dominated by "mudslinging," the practice of tossing accusations and epithets at one's opponent. Mudslinging is always regretted and decried, yet it invariably returns with each election cycle.

When Donald Trump started a national conversation about his regrets the other day, he notably neglected to say just what he regretted.

"Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it — and I do regret it — particularly where it may have caused personal pain."

A Pivotal For Week For Donald Trump

Aug 6, 2016
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Let's take a step back from the news of the past few days and ask a fundamental question: Why does everything suddenly seem different?

Donald Trump, the unsinkable candidate who seemed immune to political consequences while winning Republican presidential primaries month after month, now finds himself with an ailing campaign and a bad case of personal toxicity.

When all was said and done, Team Hillary had to be pretty happy. Their four nights in Philadelphia turned out better than almost anyone expected.

Thursday night featured an orchestrated symphony of praise for Hillary Clinton and a precision-bombing of her opponent, Donald Trump.

The third night of the 2016 Democratic convention scaled several major peaks: President Obama gave, perhaps, the best-written oration of his career. Vice President Joe Biden gave, perhaps, his last national convention address, and his prospective successor, Tim Kaine, gave his first.

The Tuesday night session of the Democratic convention was really three events, each with its own atmosphere and impact, but all contributing to a single theme: The Clintons are back.

Democrats have become accustomed to having the best speech at their quadrennial convention given by someone named Obama. This year, that person might also be named Michelle.

Hers was not the keynote, nor the most anticipated, nor the longest speech of the night. But it mesmerized and subdued the raucous and rebellious crowd, focusing the enormous energy of Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Arena just where convention organizers had hoped — on Hillary Clinton.

There is a well-worn piece of advice among political campaign professionals: When your opponent is committing suicide, don't get in the way.

In this age of Twitter and Facebook, we should add a quick corollary: Do not make news that interrupts the reporting of your opponent's problems — even momentarily.

This would be a time when these wisdoms, old and new, might be retweeted to the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

It has been said that "to cleave" is the only verb in English that connotes one specific action and its direct opposite. To cleave sometimes means to hold together, and it can also mean to split apart.

That's why Cleveland was the perfect city to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Because this week, in this town, the GOP demonstrated both its persistent divisions and its instinct for overcoming them.

For all those who view the nominating conventions of the major parties as overly scripted, predictable and boring, Wednesday night's session of the Republican National Convention came as a jolt.

The third night of this extravaganza had all the usual hoopla — plus a blackout on the jumbo screens, delegates screaming at each other, and a major presidential candidate getting booed off the stage.

Tuesday night's session of the Republican National Convention departed dramatically from the previous night's events, proving far less devoted to dread and more consumed with celebration.

But the theme of the session — "Make American Work Again" — was far from dominant or even evident in the evening's program.

On a bright note: It was the night of the official roll call, when each state gets a moment in the spotlight. As is expected, all of the delegation chairs got to toss off some happy horsefeathers about their home state before announcing their delegate count.

As Donald Trump had promised, there were surprises Monday night at the opening of his personally programmed Republican National Convention — and some of them might have surprised even him.

Let's take a quick look at what went right and what did not:

The big hits of the night were former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Melania Trump. Their speeches were polar opposites but each lit up the convention hall. Yet each was marred as well.

Organizers of this week's Republican National Convention unveiled their program and theme late Sunday, on the eve of the gathering's first session. The theme — "Make America Great Again" — will surprise no one who has heard of Donald Trump and been sentient in the year 2016.

Many people may not even realize that conventions have themes, as most are forgotten soon after the last balloon has fallen. But as the Trump convention gets underway, it's worth a moment of reflection on the theme of the last Republican nominating extravaganza.

As the Republican National Convention arrives in Cleveland this weekend, the traditional mood of enthusiasm is mixed with anxiety — not about the party's presidential ticket, but about the threat of violent disruptions.

A survey of Republican activists in swing states by Politico this month found that nearly half expected there to be some kind of violence around their convention this year.

"It's really more a matter of how bad it will get," said one Iowa Republican.

So it's the week before the Republican National Convention and we don't know who the vice presidential running mate is going to be. Then the nominee schedules a Saturday midday event and walks onstage with a younger man from Indiana who is known for his ardent conservatism.

Sound familiar?

The year is 1988, the city is New Orleans, and the freshly announced GOP ticket is George H.W. Bush for president and Dan Quayle for vice president.

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

As the Supreme Court's term comes to an end, here are some takeaways:

Okay, so what was going on in the Senate Wednesday night is not really a filibuster, in the sense we usually understand that term today. But should that mean we can't have some fun with the word filibuster?

It's one of those words that just gets people's attention. And let's face it, not that many words from congressional procedure do that.

Americans were still waking up to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history Sunday when Donald Trump popped up on Twitter, boasting about his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and calling on President Obama to resign.

He tweeted: "Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't he should immediately resign in disgrace!"

"In his remarks today," Trump said later Sunday in a statement, "President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'Radical Islam.' For that reason alone, he should step down."

"This is the way the world ends," mused the poet T.S. Eliot, "not with a bang but a whimper." It may be said that the world of 2016 presidential nominating contests is ending with a bit of a bang and a whimper.

Six states held primaries or caucuses on the last big Tuesday (only the District of Columbia remains to vote on June 14), and the results closed out the season with an exclamation point and a question mark — for each of the remaining three candidates.

The legendary Route 66 wound its way from middle America to Southern California, a ribbon of aspiration ending on a pier reaching out into the Pacific from the coastal town of Santa Monica.

That pier still exists, a symbol of America's hopeful journey west and a touchstone for politicians such as Bernie Sanders, who brought his grandchildren there on Sunday.

Whatever happens Tuesday in California and the other states still voting, Sanders had a marvelous time on the last weekend when he could sell his dream of being the Democratic nominee for president.

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

The aging screen siren in Sunset Boulevard flares up in anger when someone tells her she "used to be big."

"I'm still big," she fires back, "it's the pictures that got small."

It's been a bit like that for the California primary (which, this year, will be held June 7). Once the grand dame in the nominating season finale, California hasn't basked in the national nominating spotlight for decades.

For some weeks now, as Bernie Sanders has extended his remarkable and improbable run as a presidential candidate, people have been asking: "What does Bernie want?"

That question is a distant echo of "What does Jesse want?" a relic of the 1988 runner-up candidacy of Jesse Jackson, another "outsider" challenger with a dedicated hardcore following. But more about Jackson in a moment.

If you've ever played three-dimensional chess, you have some notion of what Paul Ryan is dealing with in his political game with Donald Trump.

Except that Ryan's dilemma has more than just three dimensions.

On the first level, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is the highest federal officeholder in the Republican Party. In this role, he is slated to be the chairman of the party's national convention in July. And in both roles, it is presumed he will back the party's nominee for president.

Donald Trump, the man who would not run, could not be taken seriously and could not win, is the apparent nominee of the Republican Party.

The office in question is the presidency of the United States.

How many times must it be over before it's really over?

This time, the endless 2016 presidential primary looks truly over, so long as you're a Republican.

The Republican Party will not name its nominee until July in Cleveland, but the last suspense went out of the contest Tuesday night in Indiana with Donald J. Trump's latest romp over his last serious competitor.

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