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.

Pages

1:50pm

Thu October 4, 2012
It's All Politics

That's Why Incumbents Used To Say No

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:44 pm

Mitt Romney makes his point as President Obama listens during Wednesday's debate in Denver.
Getty Images

In case anyone was wondering, this week's presidential debate demonstrated why incumbent presidents and others leading in the polls used to refuse to debate their challengers.

After John F. Kennedy used the first TV debates to boost his campaign against incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960, there simply were no debates until 1976. Running again with a big lead in 1968 and 1972, Nixon declined to debate and won both times. Lyndon B. Johnson also demurred in 1964 without damage en route to a landslide.

Read more

8:20am

Fri September 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Republicans Or Democrats: The Choice Comes Down To Competing Myths

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 9:15 am

What does your vision of America look like?
Loud Red Creative iStockphoto.com

Early in his acceptance speech last night, President Obama laid out the voters' task in these words:

"On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice ... between two fundamentally different visions for the future."

Read more

10:28am

Thu September 6, 2012
It's All Politics

What The Democrats' Do-Over Really Says About Party Platforms

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 11:17 am

Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa calls for a vote to amend the platform Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Charles Dharapak AP

Party platforms are like contracts: No one bothers to read them until something bad happens.

We all know that parties to any agreement should study the fine print in advance, and surely that applies to the national political parties. The delegates really ought to spend some of their time in the host city studying the document they are voting to adopt.

But hey, it's a convention. It's a party. Who wants to sit in their hotel room and read?

Read more

8:14am

Wed September 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Bill Clinton, Politics' Comeback Kid, Rides Again At The DNC

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:19 pm

It may be in former President Bill Clinton's (and his wife's) interest to help keep the Democratic party together for the next convention.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Bill Clinton will add yet another chapter to his storied career tonight when the former president places in nomination the name of the current president, Barack Obama.

It will be the focal point of the evening and for some, perhaps, the most newsworthy moment of the entire convention. The old Clinton-Obama feud remains an endless source of political gossip, and the convention planners are happy to have the former president's supposedly unedited and unvetted remarks as a rare source of suspense. Maybe it will help the ratings.

Read more

7:48am

Fri August 31, 2012
It's All Politics

GOP's 'We Built It' Refrain Is Both Puzzling and Telling

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 9:53 am

Delegates filled the floor Tuesday during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
Win McNamee Getty Images

The 2012 Republican National Convention may have been the first gathering of its kind to take its theme from a gaffe.

Read more

7:33am

Thu August 30, 2012
It's All Politics

Ryan's Speech Revives The Spirit Of Jack Kemp, War Over Reaganomics

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 8:47 am

Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, became a speech writer for the conservative Republican politician Jack Kemp after graduating from college in 1992.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The second night of the Republican convention was an orchestrated buildup for Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan.

Ryan emerged at the evening's end to deliver the payoff speech and introduce himself to a national audience. He did a rousing job of it, delivering the session's most memorable material with stark intensity.

Read more

5:03am

Wed August 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Republicans Reach Out To Women More In Convention Programming Than Platform Writing

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 8:36 am

Georgia delegates Ruby Robinson (right) and Kathy Noble hold signs and cheer during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., where a parade of female officials and officeholders appeared on stage Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

In case you missed it, the theme here in Tampa at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday was: "We Built It." Intended as a reference to building a business, the three words also suggested another construction project under way — a bridge to female voters.

Read more

6:55am

Tue August 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Forces Are In Control For Now, But Maybe Not Forever

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 8:38 am

In Tampa Tuesday, a colorfully dressed delegate spoke to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

When the Republican National Convention finally gets underway today here in Tampa, it will renew a civil war that's been raging — off and on — for more than a century.

Read more

6:49am

Mon August 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Tempest in Tampa: Isaac Tests Mitt Romney's Mettle

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 9:12 am

Mitt Romney, who this week is set to accept the Republican presidential nomination, with wife Ann on Sunday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Political conventions are famed for focusing the nation's attention on one name, but at this year's Republican National Convention here in Tampa, that name is not the nominee's.

Read more

9:04am

Fri June 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Roberts' Ruling Recalls Other Moments When High Court Shocked The Nation

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 10:41 am

The U.S. Supreme Court on the eve of a hearing about the Florida presidential election recount, Nov. 30, 2000. The justices later ruled 5-4 in the case of Bush v. Gore, effectively deciding the outcome of the presidential race.
Alex Wong Getty Images

You may already have made a mental note as to where you were when you heard the Supreme Court had upheld the health care law known as Obamacare. It's one of those moments that become touchstones of our memory, personal connections to the history we have witnessed in our lifetimes.

The Supreme Court may not be the source of such moments very often, but when its rulings reach this level of our awareness, they alter the course of our lives.

Read more

8:11am

Wed June 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Seven Ways Wisconsin's Recall Vote May Matter To You

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 4:15 pm

For weeks now, we in the news business have been telling you how much the Scott Walker recall election in Wisconsin matters to the country as a whole.

Read more

2:32am

Wed June 6, 2012
It's All Politics

How Walker Held On To His Job In Wisconsin

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 8:17 am

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker greets supporters at a rally Tuesday in Waukesha, Wis., after weathering a recall challenge.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall attempt in Wisconsin on Tuesday by doing what he had to do: turning out huge majorities in the Republican enclaves of the state — especially in its eastern half near Lake Michigan.

In the end, Walker wound up with about 53 percent of the vote, about 1 percentage point better than he had in winning the governorship the first time in November 2010.

Read more

10:42am

Tue June 5, 2012
It's All Politics

County-By-County Battle In Wisconsin

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:07 pm

"Recall Walker" buttons at the Rock County Democratic Party Headquarters Monday in Janesville, Wis.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Wisconsin votes on recalling its governor Tuesday, and much has already been made of that vote's potential implications beyond the state.

But for now, this historic moment belongs to the 3 million-plus Wisconsinites registered to vote. Most of them are expected to turn out, and those who do will be thinking about the implications for Wisconsin more than the prospects for fallout elsewhere.

Read more

10:33am

Wed May 30, 2012
It's All Politics

For Romney, The People May Trump The Money In Associating With The Donald

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 12:52 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney walks past Donald Trump's airplane as he arrives in Las Vegas on Tuesday, where he met with Trump for a fundraiser.
Mary Altaffer AP

The latest variant of the presidential election parlor game we call "What Were They Thinking?" asks why Mitt Romney chose this moment in his quest for the White House to become involved with Donald Trump.

Here's a contrarian guess by way of an answer: populism. Bear with me for a moment of explanation.

Read more

2:24am

Wed May 9, 2012
It's All Politics

America's Dairyland Doubles As Test Site For Political Civil War

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 1:15 pm

Protesters march outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Hotel where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is speaking to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on April 17 in Springfield, Ill. Walker faces Democrat Tom Barrett in a recall election June 5. The events in the state over the next four weeks could be a sign of where the U.S. is headed in the months ahea
Seth Perlman AP

Back before the conflagration that was World War II, some of Europe's great powers engaged in a surrogate struggle by arming the warring factions in the Spanish Civil War. It was a great way to test their latest weapons and tactics.

Here in our country and in our time, the role of Spain is being played by the state of Wisconsin, where a political civil war has raged for nearly 18 months — presaging the fierce national politics of this presidential year.

Watch Wisconsin over the next four weeks, and you will see where we are headed as a nation in the months ahead.

Read more

2:58am

Wed April 4, 2012
It's All Politics

Once Again, Santorum Keeps It Close But Falls Further Behind

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 1:50 pm

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally at Four Seasons Sheraton in Mars, Pa., Monday night. Rival Mitt Romney won the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Wisconsin primaries.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Rick Santorum came surprisingly close to an upset in Wisconsin this week, losing to Mitt Romney by less than 5 percentage points. It was not as heartbreakingly close as his previous losses in Michigan and Ohio, but it was one more reminder of what might have been.

With a win in Wisconsin, Santorum would have confounded the ruling media narrative of the moment, which wants to turn from the primary season of spring to the autumnal matchup of Romney and President Obama.

Read more

7:14am

Thu March 29, 2012
It's All Politics

How Collapse Of Health-Care Law Could Help Democrats

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 10:12 am

Amy Brighton from Medina, Ohio, who opposes the new health care law, rallies in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

We probably won't know until June what the Supreme Court justices will decide regarding the health overhaul law known as Obamacare. The questions this week from the conservative majority seemed skeptical of the "individual mandate" at the center of the law, yet dubious of the law's survival without it.

(A line of questioning may not be a perfect guide to a justice's thinking, but right now it appears to be the way to bet.)

So let's say it's June and the high court has laid low the whole law. That's terrible news for President Obama and the Democrats, right?

Read more

6:43am

Wed March 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Are Primary Republicans Chasing Romney Or The Reagan Rainbow?

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 12:28 pm

President Ronald Reagan looms over today's GOP field. Here he waves as he boards Air Force One after a brief three-hour visit to Washington state on April 20, 1984.
Barry Sweet AP

Rick Santorum's underdog campaign limped out of Illinois to fight another day, but his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination goes forward under a long shadow.

It's not really the shadow of Mount Mitt, even though front-runner Romney's big win in Illinois heightened his pile of delegates. Romney creeps ever closer to inevitability, yet he too is caught in the same shadow of a man who left the stage two decades ago but dominates it to this day.

Read more

6:26am

Wed March 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Analysis: Why It's Time For Newt Gingrich To Say Good Night

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 6:12 pm

After his losses in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich will face increasing pressure to drop out of the GOP race. Here he waves to supporters after speaking at a rally in Hoover, Ala., on Tuesday.
Marvin Gentry Reuters /Landov

It is time for the much-winnowed field of Republican presidential contenders to shrink a little further. It is time for Newt Gingrich to bid adieu and wrap up his bid for the nomination.

Rick Santorum, who won the Alabama and Mississippi primaries on Tuesday, has proven himself the conservatives' favored alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney. He did this by winning the voters who mattered most in the deep-dyed red states of Alabama and Mississippi, the white evangelical "born again" voters who cast more than two-thirds of the vote in each state.

Read more

4:37am

Wed March 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Fight For GOP Nomination Is Over But Will Still Go On

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 10:18 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addressed supporters at a Super Tuesday rally in Boston on Tuesday. His home state was one of the six he won Tuesday night.
Jessica Rinaldi Reuters /Landov

As they counted up the votes on Super Tuesday, you could almost hear Celine Dion singing that theme song from Titanic — the one about how her heart and the whole tragic tale would go on.

And on.

So it is with this year's Republican presidential contest.

Usually by this time in the picture, the GOP has given its heart to its hero, and it's lights out for the rest of the cast. But once again this week, the GOP of 2012 refused to read the usual script.

Read more

5:30am

Wed February 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Santorum & Co. Left To Mourn What Might Have Been in Michigan

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:59 am

Detroit native Mitt Romney greets supporters with wife Ann in Novi, Mich., after squeaking out a win in Tuesday's primary. He also won Arizona.
Gerald Herbert AP

Rick Santorum and his campaign will likely look back on Michigan's 2012 primary not only as a heartbreaking loss in the battle against Mitt Romney but also as a historic lost opportunity.

The upstart former senator from Pennsylvania was within a few percentage points of toppling the wobbly frontrunner in a state that really mattered.

Unlike his earlier wins in caucus states (Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota) and a nonbinding "beauty contest" (Missouri), a win in Michigan meant a real cache of committed delegates.

Read more

6:53am

Thu February 23, 2012
It's All Politics

Desert Face-Off May Have Closed Out Debate Season. So What Did We Learn?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to the crowd as he is introduced at the start of Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate in Mesa, Ariz.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Ten months and a score of debates ago, the Republican Party and a slew of news organizations brought forth on our TV screens a new definition of a presidential nominating process — conceived in targeted marketing and dedicated to the proposition that no number of debates was too many for hardcore conservatives.

Read more

6:57am

Tue February 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Santorum's Problem With Women Could Be His Glass Ceiling

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 11:21 am

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Kent County Lincoln Day Dinner on Monday in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Al Goldis AP

As February began, Rick Santorum's presidential bid was polling in the mid-teens among Republicans. Now, we find ourselves two weeks deep in the Santorum Era. His national polling number has doubled since he won the Trifecta Tuesday events in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Those were small contests with few participants and zero delegates at stake. But Santorum threatens to win far larger and more meaningful tests in Michigan and Arizona a week from now, and in Ohio a week after that.

Read more

7:49am

Wed February 8, 2012
It's All Politics

Did Santorum Win Big or Win Squat? What's a Nation to Believe?

Republican presidential hopeful and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to supporters, flanked by his daughter, Elizabeth (left), and wife, Karen.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Pity the poor news junkie, waiting bleary-eyed at the witching hour, wondering how to feel about the latest events in the Republican nominating contest.

One news source — let's say it's a cable news operation — says the latest round of GOP presidential preference contests is a huge boost to the flagging fortunes of Rick Santorum, the winner of the night's trifecta. The cable outlets all air tape of Santorum's triumphant victory speech again and again. He surely looks like a winner.

Read more

2:00am

Sun February 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Move Over, Iowa, Nevada Has A Caucus Problem Too

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 8:35 am

Jan White, left, Brenda Robertson, center, and Janet Freixas, right, count paper ballots at the headquarters of the Douglas County Republican Party Saturday in Minden, Nev., following county-wide Nevada caucus meetings.
Ted S. Warren AP

Imagine this: You're the Super Bowl host city, and you've gone to a lot of trouble to get the big game in your town. Now everyone's watching as the game comes to an end, and you can't get the scoreboard to work. Suddenly no one's sure who's ahead or how much time is left to play.

That nightmare scenario probably could not happen. But we have seen some highly improbable events lately that embarrassed the host states in the presidential nominating process.

Read more

7:08am

Mon January 30, 2012
It's All Politics

GOP Presidential Contest: Is It Over or Just Getting Started?

Over the weekend, we heard Newt Gingrich assuring Floridians that his campaign was going all the way to the GOP's August convention.

Once the delegates got to Tampa, he said, all those who opposed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would unite to deny him the nomination.

"My job is to convert that [anti-Romney majority] into a pro-Gingrich majority," the former House speaker said Sunday.

Read more

7:06am

Fri January 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Live By Debate, Die By Debate: Gingrich Challenge To Romney Stalls Where It Began

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 10:10 am

On Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla., Mitt Romney (right) went after Newt Gingrich from the start on topics such as immigration and colonizing the moon.
Matt Rourke AP

We still don't know who'll win the Florida primary Tuesday, but after the past two debates it seems far likelier to be Mitt Romney.

Why? Because Newt Gingrich had vaulted from the margins to the forefront of the Republican presidential race in South Carolina on the strength of two debate performances. And that weapon has ceased to work in his favor.

The NBC and CNN debates this week in Tampa and Jacksonville went a long way toward neutralizing the impression created by debates the previous week in Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

Read more

7:02am

Wed January 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's And Daniels' Speeches Follow Classic Party Lines

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 8:48 am

President Obama delivers the State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

This year's State of the Union address may have set a record for fewest surprises.

The usual elements were all in place, starting with the sergeant at arms shouting across the din of the chamber, quieting the crowd of worthies from both House and Senate, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court.

Then the president made his way down the center aisle, shaking hands with the members who had sent staff members to reserve these favored seats for hours for just this moment.

Read more

1:34am

Tue January 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Redux: Did The Front-Runner Find A Way Back In?

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 9:35 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich debate at the University of South Florida in Tampa on Monday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

On Tuesday, it is likely the presidential campaign's focus will shift to Mitt Romney's tax returns, which show him making $42.5 million in 2010 and 2011. That number may be bigger than he can finesse by saying in essence: Don't hate me because I'm successful.

Read more

12:49am

Sun January 22, 2012
It's All Politics

This Time, South Carolina GOP Bets Its Winning Streak On A Long Shot

Newt Gingrich along with his wife, Callista, addresses supporters at the Hilton Hotel in Columbia, S.C. following his primary victory. South Carolina voters have chosen the GOP nominee since 1980.
JEFF SINER MCT /Landov

By embracing Newt Gingrich in its primary, the South Carolina GOP has risked its remarkable record of success at picking the party's eventual nominee for president.

It's been quite a run. Beginning with its primary in 1980, when it chose Ronald Reagan, South Carolina has voted first among Southern states. And the Palmetto State's choice has gone on to dominate the other Southern states and lock up the nomination in short order. That happened eight times in a row, counting incumbent renominations.

Read more

Pages