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.

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 4:09 am

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

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.

Read more
It's All Politics
9:41 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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Scott Walker Is Looking Beyond His Fan Base

GOP Gov. Scott Walker answers questions from reporters on April 16 in Madison, Wis.
Scott Bauer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:14 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially announced this week that he is running for — wait for it — re-election as governor of Wisconsin.

It will be at least six months before he says anything definitive regarding that other office, the oval-shaped one in Washington, D.C.

And that's to be expected.

Governors in both parties routinely run for re-election while keeping coy about the White House — much like Bill Clinton in 1990 and George W. Bush in 1998 and Rick Perry in 2010.

Read more
It's All Politics
9:12 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Immigration Turbulence Buffets Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures while speaking during a Feb. 6 news conference on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Will the real John Boehner please stand up?

Just a dozen days ago, Speaker Boehner and his GOP leadership team embraced a set of principles for updating the nation's immigration laws.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:00 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Congressman's Exit Closes Book On 'Watergate Babies'

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California fields a flurry of phone calls in his Capitol Hill office just after announcing Thursday that he'll retire after 40 years in the House of Representatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 9:17 am

Henry Waxman's retirement means more than the loss of a legendary legislator on health care, energy and other regulatory issues. It also closes an era that began 40 years ago with the election of the "Watergate babies."

When Waxman departs, there will no longer be a House member who has been serving since that historic class of 75 Democrats was first elected in 1974. One classmate who had been, George Miller of California, announced his retirement several weeks earlier in January.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:36 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Obama Showed A Deft Hand With Speech. Why Not With Congress?

President Obama shakes hands after giving the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
Larry Downing AP

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:40 pm

The toughest test of a card player comes not with a big hand or a sheer bust, but rather with cards somewhere in between. Then it's not the deal that makes the difference — it's the sheer skill of the player.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Nuclear Option' Vote Marks Tectonic Shift In Senate Rules

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (from left), Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois defend the Senate Democrats' vote Thursday to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:15 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move Thursday to make possible the confirmation of presidential nominees with a simple majority marks a tectonic shift in the rules and folkways of the Senate.

Back in 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called this idea "the constitutional option" when he came close to invoking it on behalf of the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush.

That sounded a lot more dignified than the name Frist's predecessor, Trent Lott, had used just two years earlier: "the nuclear option."

Read more
It's All Politics
8:49 am
Wed November 6, 2013

7 Election Lessons We Should Have Seen Coming

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, appearing with his family, waves goodbye to supporters after conceding the Virginia governor's race to Terry McAuliffe. Cuccinelli's stronger-than-expected run became the dominant story on Election Night.
Win McNamee Getty Images

In the end, they pretty much all won. The people who were expected to prevail Tuesday night wound up in the winner's circle. In New Jersey and New York, of course, and in Virginia, too, in the end. The ballot measures also went according to script.

Read more
Remembrances
2:43 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Former House Speaker Tom Foley Dies At 84

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 8:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Read more
It's All Politics
10:20 am
Wed October 9, 2013

President Obama's 'It's Good To Be The King' Moment

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sit together at a Capitol event in February dedicating a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 5:05 pm

It is good to be the king.

That old adage holds, even though nowadays we call our chief executive "Mr. President."

After another long day of showdown over the shutdown, President Obama was able to dominate the headlines, break the tension and change the atmosphere in Washington. He could demonstrate everything that is different about being in the White House — as opposed to that other House where Speaker John Boehner lives.

Read more
Politics
2:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

With Shutdown Looming, Senate Takes Up Stopgap Spending Bill

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And on Capitol Hill, words of anger and frustration today over the increasing likelihood of a government shutdown. This morning in the House, members of both parties took to the floor and pointed fingers.

REPRESENTATIVE EARL BLUMENAUER: If you're serious about working together to solve problems, why don't you work together to solve problems?

REPRESENTATIVE TED POE: Where oh where has the Senate gone? Where oh where can they be? With time so short and issues so long, where oh where has the Senate gone?

Read more
It's All Politics
5:54 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Obama's Shift On Syria: A Show Of Strength Or Fear?

President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office ahead of Tuesday night's speech on Syria.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 9:00 am

One line President Obama might have borrowed for his speech to the nation Tuesday night was a famous one from John F. Kennedy's inauguration address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."

Always admired as a fine turn of phrase, what meaning does this have in our own time?

Perhaps it might have helped Obama make the turn from indicting the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons to explaining why he backed off his own earlier threat of military retaliation against Syria.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:26 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Goodbye, Again, To Obama's Most Audacious Hope

The sudden eruption of second-term scandals is likely to cost President Obama his fondest dream for his presidency: the opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:33 pm

The sudden eruption of second-term scandals in his administration will have many costs for President Obama, but surely the most grievous will be the lost opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington. That aspiration was his fondest dream for his second term, much as it was for his first. Now it seems destined to be dashed once again.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:26 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Logic Behind Obama News Conference Hard To Fathom

President Obama answers questions during his news conference at the White House on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 8:03 am

On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama declared May as Older Americans Month, National Foster Care Month, National Building Safety Month, Jewish American Heritage Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

The president also issued a statement on the investiture of the new king of the Netherlands.

While small and routine, these moves were all easy to understand, as were the accompanying proclamations from the White House press shop.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:04 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Reluctant Justices May Be Forced To Make History

Police stand guard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:34 am

Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.

It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.

Read more