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 was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professional in Residence at American University, where he is now an adjunct professor. In this role, Elving received American University's 2016 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown University.

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 the manager of NPR's Washington coverage, NPR 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.

The current presidential campaign may seem unlike any in recent memory, but most of the techniques and strategies we have seen so far hearken back to the politics of the past.

For example, few would dispute that the past week has been dominated by "mudslinging," the practice of tossing accusations and epithets at one's opponent. Mudslinging is always regretted and decried, yet it invariably returns with each election cycle.

When Donald Trump started a national conversation about his regrets the other day, he notably neglected to say just what he regretted.

"Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it — and I do regret it — particularly where it may have caused personal pain."

A Pivotal For Week For Donald Trump

Aug 6, 2016
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Let's take a step back from the news of the past few days and ask a fundamental question: Why does everything suddenly seem different?

Donald Trump, the unsinkable candidate who seemed immune to political consequences while winning Republican presidential primaries month after month, now finds himself with an ailing campaign and a bad case of personal toxicity.

Cable TV and other news media are obsessed with fallout within Team Trump and dissension in the Republican Party. When Trump holds a rally or takes to Twitter, half the nation seems to hold its breath — waiting for him to insult someone, snarl at a baby or maybe punt a puppy off the podium.

Why? Because the contest has changed, the media context has changed — and Trump has been caught in a confluence of damaging stories.

Let's take a step back from the news of the past few days and ask a fundamental question: Why does everything suddenly seem different?

Donald Trump, the unsinkable candidate who seemed immune to political consequences while winning Republican presidential primaries month after month, now finds himself with an ailing campaign and a bad case of personal toxicity.

When all was said and done, Team Hillary had to be pretty happy. Their four nights in Philadelphia turned out better than almost anyone expected.

Thursday night featured an orchestrated symphony of praise for Hillary Clinton and a precision-bombing of her opponent, Donald Trump.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The third night of the 2016 Democratic Convention scaled several major peaks: President Obama gave, perhaps, the best-written oration of his career. Vice President Joe Biden gave, perhaps, his last national convention address, and his prospective successor, Tim Kaine, gave his first.

But when it was all over, and Obama was joined on stage by the woman who wants to succeed him, you could feel the love welling up from the delegates and you could sense the doubt hanging over them — an invisible cloud casting a psychological shadow.

Yes, the crowd had been wowed by Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren and the "Comeback Kid" himself, Bill Clinton.

But would Hillary Clinton herself be able to seal the deal on the last night?

The third night of the 2016 Democratic convention scaled several major peaks: President Obama gave, perhaps, the best-written oration of his career. Vice President Joe Biden gave, perhaps, his last national convention address, and his prospective successor, Tim Kaine, gave his first.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Tuesday night session of the Democratic convention was really three events, each with its own atmosphere and impact, but all contributing to a single theme: The Clintons are back.

The first event was the most consequential. Two names were placed in nomination, those of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The traditional roll call ensued, with each delegation proudly proclaiming the singular virtues of its home state — and eventually reporting the tally of delegate votes for each contender.

By the time the roll had passed South Dakota, Clinton had surpassed the 2,383 votes needed to win. This should have surprised no one who has kept any sort of tabs on the primaries and caucuses, which long ago showed she would have more than enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot.

This had been the way to bet since Clinton won the Ohio primary resoundingly on March 15. But Sanders' camp had held out hope that their winning streak in April would sow doubts, and insisted a big upset in California in June would change everything.

Even after Clinton had won California handily, some Sanders fans still hoped her high negatives in polling, her adverse media narratives and the heavy bombardment she got from Republicans would give Democratic delegates pause. They hoped even this past weekend's release of emails from the Democratic National Committee would finally torpedo her candidacy.

The Tuesday night session of the Democratic convention was really three events, each with its own atmosphere and impact, but all contributing to a single theme: The Clintons are back.

Democrats have become accustomed to having the best speech at their quadrennial convention given by someone named Obama. This year, that person might also be named Michelle.

Hers was not the keynote, nor the most anticipated, nor the longest speech of the night. But it mesmerized and subdued the raucous and rebellious crowd, focusing the enormous energy of Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Arena just where convention organizers had hoped — on Hillary Clinton.

There is a well-worn piece of advice among political campaign professionals: When your opponent is committing suicide, don't get in the way.

In this age of Twitter and Facebook, we should add a quick corollary: Do not make news that interrupts the reporting of your opponent's problems — even momentarily.

This would be a time when these wisdoms, old and new, might be retweeted to the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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It has been said that "to cleave" is the only verb in English that connotes one specific action and its direct opposite. To cleave sometimes means to hold together, and it can also mean to split apart.

That's why Cleveland was the perfect city to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Because this week, in this town, the GOP demonstrated both its persistent divisions and its instinct for overcoming them.

The bottom line result of four nights in the Quicken Loans Arena was the consummation of the party's union with Donald J. Trump, its new master and presidential champion. The coming together was never going to be easy or smooth. It was a match made not in heaven, but in the hot flames of the party's debates, primaries and caucuses.

Trump emerged from that crucible with 14 million votes, a fact with which he began his acceptance speech on Thursday night. It was more than any Republican contender in history, a fact that Trump also happened to mention.

Trump then reviewed the greatest hits from his campaign rally speeches, but in an LP format. He took the stage a little after 10:15 p.m. and spoke until about 11:30. C-SPAN clocked it at 73 minutes and said it was the longest since at least 1972.

It has been said that "to cleave" is the only verb in English that connotes one specific action and its direct opposite. To cleave sometimes means to hold together, and it can also mean to split apart.

That's why Cleveland was the perfect city to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Because this week, in this town, the GOP demonstrated both its persistent divisions and its instinct for overcoming them.

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