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.

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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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:

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?

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'. "

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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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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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