Ron Elving

Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.

Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.

Under Elving's leadership, NPR has been awarded the industry's top honors for political coverage including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 2002 duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Merriman Smith Award for White House reporting from the White House Correspondents Association and the Barone Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. 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."

Before joining NPR in 1999, Elving served as political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He 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, Elving served as a reporter and state capital bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was a media fellow at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Over his career, Elving has written articles published by The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, and the American Political Science Association. He was a contributor and editor for eight reference works published by Congressional Quarterly Books from 1990 to 2003. His book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. Recently, Elving contributed the chapter, "Fall of the Favorite: Obama and the Media," to James Thurber's Obama in Office: The First Two Years.

Elving teaches public policy in the school of Public Administration at George Mason University and has also taught at Georgetown University, American University and Marquette University.

With an bachelor's degree from Stanford, Elving went on to earn master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley.

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U.S.
8:23 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Is Ted Cruz Running For President ... In 2008?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, as the Senate considered a spending bill.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:37 am

Yes, we know the 2008 presidential election is years in the past and will not come around again. The question is, does Sen. Ted Cruz know this?

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It's All Politics
3:08 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Should We Rue Rob Portman's Decision Not To Run For President?

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, conducts a town hall meeting with employees after an October 2014 tour of Harris Products Group in Mason, Ohio.
Al Behrman AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 3:51 pm

This just in: At least one Republican in Washington has decided he doesn't want to be president.

OK, that's not exactly what Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said. He said he wasn't running for president. Obviously, there is a difference. Nothing is more common in politics than a would-be mayor/governor/president who wishes he or she could just be appointed to the job.

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It's All Politics
5:55 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Who's Dreaming Now? Obama Opponents Do A Weapons Check On Immigration

Even though they were sitting close together at a White House luncheon earlier this month, Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on many issues including immigration. From left are House Speaker John Boehner, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 6:20 am

Even before President Obama actually announced his new deferred deportation policy for millions of people in the country illegally, Republicans were everywhere denouncing it and threatening retaliation.

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Politics
2:52 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Obama's Immigration Action Has Roots In Reagan Policy

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 4:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
4:05 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Get Ready To Watch This Lame-Duck Congress Sprint

U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., speaks Wednesday as U.S. military veterans, service members and immigration reform advocates look on during a press conference urging President Obama to move forward with immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 8:21 am

Maybe this duck won't be so lame after all.

Judging by what we've seen so far, the "zombie Congress" that returned to town this week (the reelected and the not-so-lucky) will do more business in the weeks following the election than it did in many months preceding.

Consider these trains — all long-sidetracked, all suddenly leaving the station on Capitol Hill:

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Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
3:48 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

The Color Of Politics: How Did Red And Blue States Come To Be?

NBC employees change Nebraska to red in the electoral map of the United States in 2008. All the TV news operations, including NBC News, settled on red for Republicans and blue for Democrats in 2000.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 8:31 am

Americans grow up knowing their colors are red, white and blue. It's right there in the flag, right there in the World Series bunting and on those floats every fourth of July.

So when did we become a nation of red states and blue states? And what do they mean when they say a state is turning purple?

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It's All Politics
5:01 am
Wed November 5, 2014

We Need A New Word For The Latest Republican Wave

President Obama stumped for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf this weekend in Philadelphia. Wolf's victory Tuesday was among the few bright spots for Democrats.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 1:22 pm

In 2010, President Obama lost six seats in the Senate and 63 in the House and called it "a shellacking." Four years before that, President George W. Bush lost six seats in the Senate and 30 in the House and called it a "thumpin'. "

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It's All Politics
9:56 am
Tue November 4, 2014

The Most Reliable Guide To Campaign 2014? History

Then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas was all smiles after Republicans took over the Senate in an eight-seat rout in 1994.
John Duricka AP

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 10:56 am

Still wondering where to put your money on the Senate races tonight?

There's been a lot of contradictory data flying around in the final hours and days of Campaign 2014, so don't feel alone. You can find polls in swing states that say the races are too close to call, and you can find others that show the Republican candidate opening a lead. You can, of course, listen to the party advocates and pundits, but while highly expert they are always pushing a given point of view.

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Politics
4:06 am
Wed October 8, 2014

36 States To Elect Governors Next Month

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 10:22 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Those who do vote in 36 states have a chance to vote for governor this fall. Governors' races tend to be a little less partisan than races for Congress. They're often more about what the guy in the statehouse, or the woman in the statehouse, can get done.

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Politics
4:54 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Did The Supreme Court Just Legalize Gay Marriage?

People wait to enter the Supreme Court in Washington Monday as it begins its new term. The justices cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 6:29 pm

Technically, the Supreme Court Monday did not establish a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It merely declined an opportunity to rule definitely one way or the other on the question.

But in the not-too-long run, the consequences may well be the same. Because the situation the court created — or acknowledged — will almost surely continue trending in favor of same-sex couples who want to marry.

Conversely, the legal ground is eroding for states that want to stop such marriages or deny them legal recognition.

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It's All Politics
3:29 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

The White House Could Be Made A Fortress, But Should It Be?

Visitors take photos in front of the White House.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 5:46 am

It turns out the Secret Service isn't too good at protecting the White House, and maybe one reason is that we don't want it to be.

Secret Service agents are famously willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president and his family. They are also trained to take the lives of others in defense of their protectees.

But are they equally prepared to do either of those things for the White House itself? Should it be policy for the armed agents around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to use deadly force whether the president or his family is present or not?

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It's All Politics
1:18 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Why We Won't See The Likes Of Eric Holder Again

President Obama, accompanied by Attorney General Eric Holder, speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House on Thursday to announce that Holder is resigning. Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration's legal fight against terrorism and weighed in on issues of racial fairness, is resigning after six years on the job.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 5:23 pm

When President Woodrow Wilson was casting about for an attorney general in 1919, his private secretary Joseph Tumulty wrote that the office "had great power politically ... we should not trust it to anyone who is not heart and soul with us."

Eric Holder's great qualification for the job he has just resigned was that he was with the president he served — heart and soul.

His complicated role in Barack Obama's administration was inextricably bound to race — he was the first African-American U.S. attorney general, appointed by the first African-American president.

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Politics
4:49 am
Tue September 16, 2014

How To Measure Success Against The New Monster In The Middle East?

President Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the White House on Sept. 10. Obama ordered the United States into a broad military campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy militants in two volatile Middle East nations, authorizing airstrikes inside Syria for the first time, as well as an expansion of strikes in Iraq.
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:06 pm

Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked on NBC's Meet the Press what victory would look like in the new struggle against Islamist extremists in Iraq.

"Success looks like an ISIL that no longer threatens our friends in the region, that no longer threatens the United States," McDonough said.

Vague as that is, it may be the best answer available at the moment. And that is a problem.

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Politics
10:24 am
Tue September 9, 2014

5 Questions About The 2 Weeks Congress Plans To Work This Fall

Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives return to work at the Capitol this week after a five-week vacation. They must get to work on a continuing resolution to extend funding for government agencies to prevent a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 5:45 am

Tanned and rested after a five-week summer vacation, Congress has returned for a brief session before returning home to campaign for re-election. This autumn session is expected to last a couple of weeks, give or take a couple of days.

What can be accomplished in so short a time? A great deal, if House and Senate choose to work together. Or nothing, if they don't. If you are wondering which will happen, you haven't been watching the 113th Congress up to now.

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It's All Politics
11:01 am
Sat September 6, 2014

If It's Not About Sex, It Must Be About Money — Unless It's About Power

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell arrives at federal court in Richmond on Aug. 28.
Steve Helber AP

With the stunning conviction of former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife on corruption charges, people are once again posing that age old question: Why do so many politicians get into trouble with the law?

The list of reasons comes as a shock because it's so short. The mighty are laid low by the same three temptations, over and over.

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Law
2:36 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Guilty Verdicts For Former Gov. McDonnell And Wife In Corruption Trial

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 4:51 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
1:55 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Tea Party Losing Every Senate Battle And Winning The War

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (center), talks with Wallace Henson (left) while campaigning in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., on Aug. 5. Alexander fended off a Tea Party-backed challenge Thursday.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 7:31 am

Sen. Lamar Alexander easily dispatched rival Republican Joe Carr in the Tennessee primary Thursday, completing a clean sweep for this year's Senate incumbents who faced intraparty challengers claiming the Tea Party label.

Yet while they were winless, the hard-core conservatives intent on selecting a Senate more to their liking this year were far from utterly defeated. All of the challenged GOP incumbents reacted to the pressure by working to reconfirm their credentials with conservatives. This held true even for those whose credentials should have been least in doubt.

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NPR Story
3:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Week In Politics: Progress On Upgrading VA Health System

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 11:52 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Congress is heading into its last week before taking a summer recess. For a change, lawmakers are not racing the clock to overt a fiscal calamity. Still, the standoff between the two parties has all but stopped the process of governing.

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It's All Politics
10:21 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Palin's Call For Impeachment Reopens Debate Over ... Sarah Palin

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin introduces U.S. Senate challenger Chris McDaniel at a May 29 rally in Ellisville, Miss.
George Clark AP

It's nice to see Sarah Palin back in the news. Nice, that is, if you're a Sarah fan — or if you're a Democrat, or a member of the media.

Palin's fans, and they are legion on the right, love her reliably tough-talking take on how conservatives should fight President Obama and his use of executive power to circumvent Congress.

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It's All Politics
9:46 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Why You Should Care Where The GOP Meets

Cleveland won the unanimous backing of a Republican National Committee panel on Tuesday, all but guaranteeing the GOP's 2016 presidential pick will accept the party's nomination in perennially hard-fought Ohio.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:58 am

The next Republican nominated for president will take the stage and wave to the crowd in ... wait for it ... Cleveland, Ohio.

That may shock you for any number of reasons, not least being that hardly anyone remembers the last time Cleveland hosted a national convention.

In fact, it was 1936, when the GOP went there to nominate a guy named Alf Landon, who carried exactly two states in November. It was the worst showing by a Republican nominee in U.S. history, which may have something to do with Cleveland's long wait for another try.

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It's All Politics
3:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Howard Baker's Legacy: Political, But Not Partisan

Howard Baker, then a Republican senator from Tennessee and vice chairman of the Senate Watergate investigating committee, questions witness James McCord during a hearing on May 18, 1973.
AP

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 4:50 pm

Howard Baker, who died Thursday at age 88, was a former Senate majority leader and chief of staff to President Reagan. Both his father and stepmother served in Congress; one of the Senate's office buildings is named for Baker's father-in-law, Everett Dirksen.

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It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Election Season Defies Conventional Storylines

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., addresses supporters and volunteers at his runoff election victory party Tuesday at the Mississippi Children's Museum in Jackson.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 5:49 pm

Crumple up that first draft. Hit delete on the keyboard. The take most of us had on Tuesday's primaries just one day ago turned out to be just one more misread in the primaries of 2014.

That story about the passing of the Old Guard? Or the one about the resurgence of the Tea Party? Not so fast, the voters still seem to be saying.

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Politics
2:15 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Parsing The Numbers Of A Tuesday Packed With Primaries

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 7:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Joining us now to talk more about yesterday's elections and what the results may tell us is NPR Senior Editor and Correspondent Ron Elving. Hey there, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Audie.

CORNISH: So there were primaries and runoffs in seven states. What's most striking to you about the results.

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It's All Politics
3:04 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Eric Cantor's Collapse: What Happened?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., delivers his concession speech as his wife, Diana, listens in Richmond on Tuesday.
Steve Helber AP

That shape-shifting spirit we call the Tea Party assumed yet a new form Tuesday and took down its most prominent victim of this year, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In some ways, Cantor is the most significant Republican incumbent ousted in a primary since the latest intraparty rebellion by conservative hard-liners began five years ago.

No, Cantor is not an iconic senator like Richard Lugar of Indiana, or a popular statewide figure like Mike Castle of Delaware, both of whom had their careers cut short by insurgents from the right in recent primaries.

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It's All Politics
10:00 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Tea Party Still Packs A Punch: How It Happened In Mississippi

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel has a slight lead over six-term GOP Sen. Thad Cochran in the state's Republican Senate primary.
George Clark AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 1:18 pm

In mid-May, many political observers in Washington and elsewhere were declaring the Tea Party dead after it had lost every major Republican primary it contested this spring. I know, I am one of them.

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It's All Politics
10:55 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Hard Sell For 'Hard Choices' Says Hillary's Running In 2016

Publisher Simon & Schuster says the initial printing of Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-released memoir, Hard Choices, has already sold out.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:19 pm

As subtle as a bugle call, the marketing effort now underway for Hillary Clinton's new book is the clearest indication to date that she is in fact running for president in 2016.

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It's All Politics
8:39 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Is The Tea Party Finished?

Tea Party activists rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in June 2013.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:07 pm

The time has come for us all to take a long, step-back look at this thing we call the Tea Party.

The results from Republican primaries in a dozen states so far this year strongly suggest that the party, such as it was, is over.

It may not have made sense to use the term "party" at any time in this movement's brief history. This year, that fact has become increasingly obvious.

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It's All Politics
1:12 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

It May Not Be A Tea Party Year, But Outsiders Are Still Thriving

Georgia Republican Senate candidate David Perdue (left) speaks to supporters at a primary election night party on Tuesday in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 1:50 pm

The prevailing narrative for Tuesday night's GOP primary results was written weeks ago: 2014 will not be another field of dreams for Tea Party insurgents. Wrapping a candidacy in the flag of "Don't Tread on Me" is not the winning tactic it was in many Republican contests two and four years earlier.

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Politics
8:20 am
Wed May 21, 2014

In Kentucky Primary, McConnell Bests Tea Party Challenger

In a day packed full of primaries, voters headed to the polls in six states — including three that are expected to have highly competitive Senate races.

Analysis
2:57 am
Mon May 19, 2014

GOP Candidates Try To Hold Off Tea Party Picks In Primaries

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 5:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so that's the governor's race in Pennsylvania; a battle among Democrats. The other races we'll be watching closely tomorrow are mainly those among Republicans who want to serve in the Senate, and they are hoping it is a Senate with a GOP majority.

To walk us through some of these races, we're joined as we are most Mondays by Cokie Roberts. Cokie, good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, David.

GREENE: And here in the studio with me is NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving. Ron, good morning to you.

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