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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.

Democrats in Washington are divided.

You've no doubt read and heard news reports that detail the recent infighting, as headline writers for weeks have been digging to find synonyms for discord, disarray, dissent and disagreement.

The party is portrayed as split, on the outs and at odds.

And in the game of Washington power politics, party unity matters. Disunity kills.

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Speaking sorrowfully to the nation from the White House last week, President Biden lengthened a chain that was already far too long, a chain of presidential remorse — and vows of revenge — over the loss of American lives in faraway conflicts few Americans understand.

"We will not forgive, and we will not forget," said Biden, with an intensity he rarely shows, speaking of the deaths of 13 U.S. military personnel at the Abbey Gate to the Kabul airport are the latest additions to an honor roll that was also far too long.

In Afghanistan the world is witnessing disastrous consequences associated with a rare area of agreement between President Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Even if President Biden gets his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill through the Senate with some Republican help, he will still face a tougher climb and a partisan wall in seeking to pass a massive $3.5 trillion spending bill chock-full of Democratic priorities.

Republicans are not on board with that bill, so Democrats are trying to pass the legislation with a simple majority vote, using a maneuver known as reconciliation.

In the days and weeks just ahead, the elected leaders of our federal government will perform a series of ritual dances that few Americans will understand.

You may turn away with a dismissive gesture or a rolling of the eyes. But these seemingly arcane exercises will, in fact, represent — and may even resolve — real conflicts over national issues of enormous importance.

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ANTHONY FAUCI: We are dealing with a formidable variant in the delta variant and the extreme vulnerability of people who are not vaccinated.

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Most Americans can celebrate Independence Day this year with a new appreciation of what it means to be free.

Roughly half the nation has now been fully vaccinated and participation is higher among older, more vulnerable adults. The several vaccines are exceeding expectations for effectiveness, even against variants of the virus.

More and more of us are returning to at least a semblance of our prior lives.

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President Biden's first meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin could be the most contentious between the leaders of the two countries since the Cold War ended three decades ago.

Biden has an agenda of grievances, complaints and protests pertaining to Russian activities abroad and Putin's suppression of dissidents at home. Putin has shown no interest in altering his behavior and has his own lists of accusations about U.S. actions in Europe and the Middle East.

Federal safety officials found it necessary this past week to remind Americans not to put gasoline in plastic bags. Hey folks, that's dangerous. Remember?

As many times as Joe Biden must have imagined the moment, he never could have imagined it looking like this.

After two failed bids for the White House and a third that began with a series of stumbles, there he finally was on Wednesday, mounting the podium to address a joint session of Congress for the first time as president of the United States.

Yet what he saw before him could not have been as he dreamed.

As we approach President Biden's 100th day in office at the end of this month, some observers are flattering him with comparisons to two legendary Democratic presidents of the 20th century — Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Those names reportedly came up when historian Jon Meacham convened a group of his colleagues at the White House in early March for a private session with Biden. And since then, the aptness of comparing this new president to such transformative figures of the past has become a matter of some debate in Washington and beyond.

The Saudi crown prince may escape punishment for his order to kill a columnist. A pandemic relief package is moving through Congress. Donald Trump remains popular with conservative activists.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took an ill-timed trip this week. Also, President Biden assured global national security officials the U.S. wants to strengthen international ties.

In the last 28 months, the Republican Party has lost the White House and lost control of both chambers of Congress.

With the shock of those setbacks still sinking in, the party has been rocked and riven by former President Donald Trump's refusal to concede, a pro-Trump riot in the U.S. Capitol, and an impeachment effort that even some Republicans backed.

A month has passed since the shocking invasion of the U.S. Capitol by rioters bent on blocking the official recognition of the presidential election results, but the aftershocks have not stopped.

More than 200 people have now been charged with various crimes, ranging from illegal trespassing to attacks on police officers to conspiracies to kidnap members of Congress. Federal authorities have opened investigations into about 200 other individuals who have yet to be charged.

The Senate had a test vote this week that cast deep doubt on the prospects for convicting former President Donald Trump on the impeachment charge now pending against him. Without a two-thirds majority for conviction, there will not be a second vote in the Senate to bar him from future federal office.

After a lifetime of membership in exclusive clubs, President Trump is about to join one against his will.

It is the club of one-term presidents.

There is surely no dishonor in serving a single term in the nation's highest office. Trump will bring to 23 the number of presidents who had the job for just four years or fewer, so the club includes about half of all those who have taken the oath. Five presidents died while in their first term (two by assassination). Several who stepped in for one of these fallen presidents completed the remainder of that term and left.

It took a building to bring down Donald Trump.

Unleashing the angriest of his supporters this week against the U.S. Capitol may have been only the culmination of Trump's 60-month campaign against the Washington establishment.

But it was also its undoing. And his.

When the crowd that Trump whipped up on the Ellipse marched up the National Mall with his blessing and encouragement, they became a mob assaulting and invading the Capitol.

Many in Washington, D.C., are worried about civil unrest on Wednesday, as the Proud Boys, a group labeled as extremists by the FBI, and other activists gather to protest just as Congress begins to add its imprimatur to last month's Electoral College vote.

That congressional vote will be the final formality leading to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden two weeks later.

President Trump's refusal to concede and the delayed transition to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden have raised many questions about the transfer of power in our system.

One in particular has long been asked: Why do we wait until the latter part of January to swear in a president we elect in November? Put another way: How is it that the Brits can have a newly elected prime minister meeting with the queen to form a new government within a day or two, but we need 10 or 11 weeks to install a new crew?

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.

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."

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.

The Week In Politics

Oct 10, 2020

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