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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It's All Politics
7:25 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Test Of '1 Person, 1 Vote' Heads To The Supreme Court

Part of Texas' congressional redistricting map from 2003. The lead plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott are residents of a state Senate district in Texas who say their equal rights to representation are diluted because Texas equalized the districts in population terms and€” not in terms of eligible voters.
Harry Cabluck AP

When the Supreme Court returns for its next term in October, among the cases it has agreed to hear is a challenge to a fundamental practice that has governed American elections for generations.

When public-policy makers talk about a state's population, they generally mean the number of human beings living in that state β€” as counted or estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That applies to a host of political actions, including the apportionment of seats in Congress and the Electoral College votes that choose the president.

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Politics
2:08 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

When Is A Filibuster Not Really a Filibuster? When It Looks Like A Filibuster

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul's 10 1/2 hours on the Senate floor were about liberty, the Constitution and the need to stand out in a field of presidential hopefuls.
Andrew Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 4:49 pm

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, held the floor of the Senate for 10 1/2 hours Wednesday afternoon and evening, airing his objections to the NSA bulk collection of telephone records in the U.S.

Many of the accounts of this lengthy performance referred to it as a filibuster, or a near-filibuster, or some kind of filibuster or other.

It was none of the above.

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It's All Politics
12:53 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Who Is Clinton Confidant Sidney Blumenthal?

Blumenthal was one of just four witnesses deposed by the U.S. Senate when it tried (and acquitted) Clinton on the impeachment charges early in 1999.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 1:57 pm

Before there was George, there was Sid.

George Stephanopoulos is, of course, the ABC news anchor whose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton foundation have reminded the world of his longtime ties to Bill Clinton, for whom he worked from 1991 to 1997.

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It's All Politics
6:28 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Remembering A Former House Speaker Whose Fall Signaled New Era Of Polarization

Former House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas in 2005. He died Wednesday at the age of 92.
Yuri Gripas AP

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 1:14 am

Jim Wright occupies a kind of shadow territory in Washington memory. He rose to be speaker of the House, arguably the second most powerful job in the country. For a season he challenged the authority of the president on foreign policy. A master of the internal politics and practices of the House, Wright once seemed likely to rule that world for as long as the Democrats held the majority β€” which he and they and most everyone else expected to last forever.

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It's All Politics
10:14 am
Fri May 1, 2015

How The Vietnam War Put Picking Presidents In The Hands Of The People

A young female protester faces down armed police officers at an anti-Vietnam War demonstration outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 2:38 pm

This week we mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. On our screens and in our memory's eye we can see the helicopters lifting the last, desperate evacuees from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

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Politics
3:54 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Has The Senate Found It's More Fun To Be Functional?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., (left) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at a ceremony last month at the U.S. Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 12:27 pm

Loretta Lynch's confirmation as Attorney General was not the only sign of a spring thaw in the Senate this week: Senators also voted for a crackdown on human trafficking, while green shoots of compromise seemed to sprout on other contentious issues, both foreign and domestic.

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It's All Politics
7:03 am
Mon April 13, 2015

'Hillary Clinton' Is Back, But Will There Be A Return Of The Rodham?

Hillary Clinton is running with all the advantages and challenges of someone who has been in the public eye for more than two decades.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 3:14 pm

When the former senator, secretary of state and first lady announced for president on Sunday she smiled into the camera and said, "I'm Hillary Clinton."

Those who were hoping for a return of Hillary's family name, "Rodham," as part of her public identity might have felt some disappointment. For many of her admirers, Hillary Rodham Clinton was the embodiment of aspiration for a woman in public life. This was the woman they wanted to elevate to the White House in her own right.

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It's All Politics
2:49 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

How Senate Democrats Will Choose Their Next Leader

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, with then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle at a 1995 news conference on Capitol Hill. Harry Reid took over as leader in 2005 after Daschle unexpectedly lost his re-election. At the time, Reid was unknown to most Americans, but he beat back a challenge Dodd.
John Duricka AP

When word came of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's decision to retire, various observers and Democratic constituencies quickly emerged with their choices for his successor as the party's Senate leader.

There were those who touted Patty Murray of Washington, the proven problem-solver and veteran legislator who has worked her way up the ladder of Senate succession. Others talked up Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who in just two years has emerged as a star in the caucus and who has also joined the leadership in a junior role.

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It's All Politics
6:16 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Amazingly, Congress Actually Got Something Done

House Speaker John Boehner takes the gavel from Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Jan. 6 at the start of the 114th Congress.
Mark Wilson Getty

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 6:58 pm

They said it couldn't be done. And for more than a decade they were right.

But on Thursday, staring at a deadline that could have disrupted health care to millions of seniors, the House got something done.

It voted to fix the flawed formula for compensating doctors who provide services to patients under Medicare. But this time it wasn't just a patch for a few months or years β€” like the ones Congress has done 17 times since 2003.

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It's All Politics
11:21 am
Wed March 25, 2015

With Sen. Dan Coats' Retirement, One More Gone From The Old School

Sen. Dan Coats on midterm election night in 2014.
AJ Mast AP

Senate Republican Dan Coats of Indiana announced Tuesday β€” probably surprising no one β€” that he would not seek another term in 2016. Although he has been a stalwart Republican through a turbulent generation in Washington, Coats seems less at home in the hyper-partisan world of Congress today.

While Coats, 71, said his decision was strictly personal and age-related, he did refer to the "terribly dysfunctional Senate" in an interview with the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter.

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Mon March 23, 2015

5 Reasons Cruz Announced His Candidacy Early

Sen. Ted Cruz needs buzz, money and to be taken seriously. He hopes he can accomplish that by getting in early.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 9:48 am

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has apparently had enough of the fig leaf most presidential candidates wear as their unofficial spring costume the year before the election actually happens.

That is a bold stroke, but entirely in keeping with the go-for-broke style the junior senator from Texas has exhibited since first challenging the Republican establishment's candidate for the Senate in 2012.

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It's All Politics
8:03 am
Thu March 19, 2015

A First For Joe: Biden Could Break Tie To Confirm Attorney General

Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner wait for President Obama's State of the Union address in front of a joint session of Congress in 2012. As vice president, Biden is also leader of the U.S. Senate, but only gets a vote when senators are evenly divided.
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 10:55 am

Vice President Joe Biden has been more visible than almost any of his 46 predecessors in the nation's No. 2 office. He's had more access to the Oval Office and more input on policy than all but a handful.

But there is one VP duty Biden has never fulfilled, because he's never had a chance: He has never broken a tie in the Senate, which is a salient VP responsibility embedded in the Constitution. In these past six years and two months, there hasn't been a Senate tie to break.

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It's All Politics
11:01 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Wild Day In Madison Likely To Be Another Win For Gov. Walker

Protesters filled Wisconsin's state Capitol in Madison on Monday, demonstrating against last weekend's shooting death of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black man.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 8:21 pm

You could scarcely imagine a day that better demonstrated the split personality of Wisconsin politics.

On Monday, the state Capitol building in Madison was flooded once again with an angry crowd of protesters. This time the outrage was sparked by a local police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old black man.

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It's All Politics
4:21 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Failed Keystone Veto Override Marks Another Win For Veto Pen

President Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., in 2012 after renewed momentum in Congress to approve construction of the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Congress mustered big majorities for the Keystone XL, which you might think would mean that pipeline would soon be under construction to carry Canadian crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.

But you would be forgetting the presidential veto, which President Obama signed on Feb. 24 with little or no fanfare.

Wednesday, the Senate put an end to years of legislative effort by upholding the Obama veto. The Senate voted 62 to 37 in favor of the override, but it wasn't enough.

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It's All Politics
10:01 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Why Congress Doesn't Really Worry About What Most Americans Think

The heightened partisanship cemented in congressional districts has created havens for both Democrats and Republicans, whose job security now often depends more on pleasing primary voters than on the high-altitude questions facing the nation at large.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 1:27 pm

With each week, we have come to expect another jarring outrage from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the new breed of terrorists that is redefining terror.

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Politics
11:39 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Why Convention Sites Don't Make Very Good Swing State Strategy

If the Democrats do win Pennsylvania, it won't be because they had their convention in Philadelphia, which is already a mother lode of Democratic votes. And if the Republicans wind up winning Ohio, it won't be because they won over a lot of precincts in Cleveland, which is a similarly rich trove of Democratic support in elections at all levels.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:04 pm

Put it in the category of things we know for sure that just ain't so.

No sooner did the Democratic National Committee announce it had chosen Philadelphia, Pa., as its 2016 convention site than a lot of us political analyst types popped out the conventional wisdom about "appealing to a swing state in the general election."

It sounds good and it makes sense, as far as it goes. It just doesn't go very far.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Tue February 10, 2015

In White House Memory, A-U-M-F Translates To B-U-S-H

President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, vowing to tap "every resource" to fight terrorism. Two days before the speech, he had signed an Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress.
WIN MACNAMEE AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 9:26 am

Update: 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

President Obama has sent Congress proposed legislative language that would grant him specific permission to make war on the group calling itself the Islamic State.

If approved by the House and Senate, that language will formalize the struggle against the Sunni extremists who are also known as ISIS or ISIL β€” and are best known for such actions as the torture killing of a captive Jordanian pilot and the beheading of other hostages from around the world.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Life In The 'New' Washington: In Your Face! No, In YOUR Face!

President Obama delivers remarks during a meeting with people who wrote him letters explaining how they benefited from the Affordable Care Act in the White House on Tuesday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 7:28 pm

President Obama entertained a group of Americans on Tuesday in the intimate Roosevelt Room at the White House, thanking them for their written testimonials to the benefits of his Affordable Care Act. A few hours later, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the ACA in its entirety.

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It's All Politics
1:57 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Abortion Vote Shows How Much Democrats' World Has Changed

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., announces he will vote to pass the health care reform bill after President Obama agreed to sign an executive order reaffirming the ban on the use of federal funds to provide abortions, March 21, 2010.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:25 am

This week, Congress returns with House leaders vowing to revisit the anti-abortion bill they pulled off the floor last week. The ban on abortions after 20 weeks was withdrawn when it appeared there weren't enough Republican votes to pass it.

Why did it need quite so many Republican votes? Because the GOP can no longer count on a contingent of Democrats to help out on abortion-related votes.

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It's All Politics
10:06 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Says Climate Change Real, But Not Really Our Fault

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., was the only senator to vote against an amendment calling climate change "real and not a hoax."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:20 pm

Breathtakingly broad as its jurisdiction may be, the U.S. Senate does not usually vote on the validity of scientific theories.

This week, it did. And science won. The Senate voted that climate change is real, and not a hoax. The vote was 98-1.

The vote was about an amendment to the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The near-unanimity of the climate change judgment was notable, because so many senators have cast doubt on ideas of "global warming."

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It's All Politics
6:27 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Obama State Of The Union Seeks To 'Turn The Page' To A Brighter Chapter

Mandel Ngan AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:25 am

In the first minute of his hourlong State of the Union address, President Barack Obama summed up his theme in single sentence: "Tonight, we turn the page."

The president then detailed a page of history filled with the financial crisis of 2008, the recession and unemployment and deficits that followed and the two distant and difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was a reminder of the ills that helped elevate young Sen. Obama to the Oval Office six years ago. And now, after many battles, he was ready to declare he had turned that page.

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Obama Joins Ike, The Gipper, Bill And George II In A Club No One Wants To Be In

President Dwight Eisenhower delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of the 86th Congress in 1959. Behind him are Vice President Richard Nixon (left) and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:06 pm

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

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It's All Politics
10:06 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Iowa's Sen. Ernst Grabs Spotlight That's Often Proven Too Hot

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will deliver the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:43 am

On the one hand, having the just-elected senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address next week makes perfect sense.

On the other hand, you have to wonder why anyone would want the job. As often as not, the opportunity to speak right after the president does has been the kiss of death for aspiring politicians β€” especially in the GOP during the Obama years.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Wed January 14, 2015

What If Mitt And Jeb Really Do Go At It, Hammer And Tongs?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (right) talks with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Romney's campaign plane in 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 3:44 pm

Pity the poor guys who are trying to run for president while still serving as governors.

All the media attention this week went to former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, because Romney suddenly decided to call in his chits and get back in the presidential conversation for 2016. Virtually every news organization in North America instantly got wide-eyed about it.

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It's All Politics
11:26 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Still Just A Bill: Why Being Senate Bill 1 Doesn't Guarantee Success

Legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline is the latest Senate Bill 1. President Obama has vowed to veto it.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 2:37 pm

On his first day in his new job, freshly minted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., designated the Keystone XL pipeline bill as Senate Bill 1 --the first legislation introduced under his leadership.

That signaled more than just McConnell's own support for the bill. The prestige of being S-1 also conveys a sense of the priority and urgency Senate Republicans in general attach to the project, which would permit the pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canada border and carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

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Politics
5:08 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

6 Reasons Size Matters To The New GOP Majorities In Congress

The 114th Congress opens Tuesday, swearing in the most House Republicans since 1947. But how much does the numbers game really matter now?
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 1:12 pm

The 114th Congress opens Tuesday with 246 Republicans taking the oath of office in the House. That's the most the GOP has sworn in since 1947, when the same number arrived for the 80th Congress intent on challenging Democratic President Harry Truman.

For a time, it had appeared that the new 114th majority would eclipse that of the 80th by one. But then Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and, after a sit-down with Speaker John Boehner a week ago, agreed to resign.

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It's All Politics
1:30 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Was Cuomo Destined To Be President Or Just Political Poet Laureate?

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo gives a thumbs-up gesture with both hands during his July 16, 1984, keynote address to the opening session of the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 1:55 pm

When he died of heart failure on New Year's Day, Mario Cuomo had been out of office exactly 20 years. But his impact endured, in part because he articulated his political philosophy so powerfully while at his peak and in part because he never fulfilled the destiny many envisioned for him on the national stage.

The New York governor's national moment in the sun came at night, in a San Francisco convention hall. On July 16, 1984, Cuomo gave the keynote address, mesmerizing a crowd of thousands in the Moscone Center and intriguing millions more on TV.

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Politics
5:10 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

6 Reasons Steve Scalise Will Survive His Speech Scandal

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during a campaign rally for U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on Nov. 1 in Abita Springs, La.
Scott Threlkeld AP

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 5:26 pm

Barring new and jarring developments, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is going to survive the story that he addressed a conference of white supremacists in 2002.

Unless further evidence emerges of liaisons with the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO, Scalise will take his oath next week for the 114th Congress as the No. 3 leader of the chamber's GOP β€” the party's largest majority since 1928.

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It's All Politics
5:01 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Obama Finds Reset Button With 2 Years To Go: Is It Too Late?

As he looks toward his seventh year in the White House, President Obama still believes there is time to make his presidency a transformational moment in history.

In an interview recorded shortly before he left for Christmas vacation in Hawaii, the president told NPR's Steve Inskeep that 2014 had been "a bumpy ride" but also the "breakthrough year" he himself had predicted.

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U.S.
10:23 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 1:37 pm

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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