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When the Republican National Convention officially gavels into order Monday, some major GOP leaders will be conspicuously absent.

The remaining former GOP presidents and the party's past two Republican nominees are not coming to Cleveland. Neither are some former 2016 GOP presidential candidates. More than 20 senators and several House members, along with a half-dozen Republican governors, won't be here either.

Following the shooting death of three law enforcement officers Sunday in Baton Rouge, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump blasted President Obama on Twitter and Facebook, saying he has "no clue" how to deal with a country that is a "divided crime scene."

Sunday's shooting follows a deadly officer shooting in Dallas and the death of Alton Sterling, a black man in Baton Rouge, earlier this month.

The 2016 presidential campaign feels like a political science dissertation (or 1,000) waiting to happen: two massively unpopular major-party presumptive nominees; a strong challenge for the Democratic nomination from a self-proclaimed "democratic socialist"; and the way that Donald Trump has conducted so much of his campaign via Twitter should provide Ph.D. candidates ample material for decades.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will play a prominent role at this week's Republican convention. But he will not be shaping the convention's messages — and a talk with Ryan suggests how different the convention might be if he did.

As the Republican National Convention arrives in Cleveland this weekend, the traditional mood of enthusiasm is mixed with anxiety — not about the party's presidential ticket, but about the threat of violent disruptions.

A survey of Republican activists in swing states by Politico this month found that nearly half expected there to be some kind of violence around their convention this year.

"It's really more a matter of how bad it will get," said one Iowa Republican.

Donald Trump's wife, Melania Trump, may be quiet but she's not invisible.

She spends most of her time at home, raising the couple's 10-year-old son, Barron, and sometimes makes appearances with her husband at rallies. On occasion, she introduces him.

Now, she is scheduled to address the Republican National Convention Monday night.

At a Milwaukee rally in April, she sounded a bit like her husband, the presumptive GOP nominee.

Donald Trump predicted his June fundraising would look good – especially compared to an anemic May, which he finished with just $1.3 million on hand. And June is looking better, bolstered by the first disclosure filings Friday night from two new joint fundraising committees.

Trump Victory reported raising $25.7 million between late May and June 30, but it transferred just $2.2 million to Trump's campaign committee and about $10 million to the RNC.

As part of the project A Nation Engaged, NPR and member stations are going to political battlegrounds to ask people in key populations what they want from this presidential election.

With a population of more than 20 million, Florida is the country's largest swing state. And its population is changing — thanks to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico's stagnant economy has brought tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to Florida each year over the last decade. Large numbers have settled in the area near Orlando.

Surely one of the hardest jobs at the Republican convention belongs to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will preside over it.

Foreign money in American politics. The phrase suggests secret payments, maybe briefcases stuffed with cash, or dinners of fine food and oblique conversation.

Or spam.

"Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament are being bombarded with electronic communications from Team Trump, on behalf of somebody called Donald Trump."

Sir Roger Gale, MP, was among the hundreds of legislators, from the United Kingdom to Iceland to Australia, whose inboxes had received unwanted fundraising emails from the Trump campaign.

Since winning the Republican National Convention in 2014, Cleveland has refurbished its Public Square, fixed up downtown streets and finished construction on a $270 million taxpayer-funded hotel.

Now it's showtime.

This week, the RNC's 2,000-plus delegates—along with their staffs, tens of thousands of journalists and untold numbers of demonstrators—will crowd into Northeast Ohio to see Donald Trump accept the Republican nomination for president.

Donald Trump is running for president as a Washington outsider. Yet to manage his campaign, he's picked someone who is very much a Washington insider. Paul Manafort has been a political operative and lobbyist for years, including for some controversial figures seeking to influence U.S. politics.

Presidential nominees choose vice presidential running mates for what they add to the ticket, whether it be experience or the capacity to draw votes. Here's what Mike Pence might subtract from this fall's Republican ticket with Donald Trump: an unknowable amount of campaign cash from the financial services industry.

The Democrats on Friday released an outline of their upcoming convention, and one of the main goals appears to be showing off the party's unity after a long primary fight.

After a divisive primary season between presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the convention schedule includes a speech from Sanders on the first night, Monday, July 25. That night's theme is "United Together" — indeed, of the four nights' themes, three include the word "together."

Donald Trump could stand to benefit from his reported vice presidential pick Mike Pence in a number of ways, in particular from his strong Christian identity, which might help Trump gain needed support in evangelical communities.

But Pence initially endorsed Ted Cruz, albeit without enthusiasm, and there were some reports that the Indiana governor disliked Trump. Less than a week after Cruz dropped out, Pence endorsed Trump.

After weeks of speculation, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that he has chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate.

Trump had planned to hold a press conference Friday morning, but he canceled that after a deadly attack in France. He has now scheduled a news conference for Saturday at 11 a.m in New York City.

Pence quote-tweeted Trump's announcement, adding that he is "honored" to join the ticket and "work to make America great again."

Even though House Speaker Paul Ryan has endorsed Donald Trump, he has continued to have plenty of criticism for his party's presumptive nominee.

In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep on Thursday afternoon in his office in the Capitol, Ryan was optimistic that Trump would come around on free trade agreements and the controversial tone he's used on the campaign trail.

House Speaker Paul Ryan knows what it's like to be thrown into running for vice president. Just four years ago, he was named Mitt Romney's running mate in the former Massachusetts governor's failed bid for the presidency.

Thursday morning, the Republican National Committee released its list of convention speakers. It's a lot of politicians and business people, with five Trump family members mixed in. I looked them up and broadly categorized them. After my first pass, here's how it broke down:

A lot has been said about the difficulty Donald Trump has had getting the Republican establishment behind him. But one man has always backed him in the Senate: Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

They're the odd couple of politics: a New York City tycoon and a guy from the deep South. One man is mild-mannered. The other, famous for bold exaggerations.

But Trump and Sessions are linked by their shared hard-line view on one central issue: immigration.

And Sessions too has had a controversial political career.

5 Things To Know About Mike Pence

Jul 14, 2016

The buzz about Donald Trump's vice presidential pick is centering on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Pence "is dropping his re-election bid in Indiana to become Donald Trump's running mate."

Getting to next week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland has become more of a burden than some delegates were expecting. For one thing, some of them had no idea they'd be on the hook for the whole cost of casting a vote for their candidate.

One such delegate is Rita Gaus, who lives out among the cornfields and wind turbines about two hours south of Chicago in Buckingham, Ill. Gaus and her husband are dog breeders, something that started out as a hobby but has turned into a full-time gig on their family farm.

Tim Tebow, Peter Thiel and precisely zero former Republican presidential nominees — that's who will reportedly be speaking at the Republican convention next week.

Following last week's deadly shootings, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott gave a deeply personal speech on the Senate floor in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday about the "deep divide" between communities and law enforcement.

While many law enforcement officers do good, he said, some do not. "I've experienced it myself."

This post was updated at 2:38 pm

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

Tuesday was the big moment that Hillary Clinton has been waiting for: Bernie Sanders, who gave her a hard, unexpected fight for the Democratic nomination, endorsed her.

Their appearance together in New Hampshire was a show of party unity, but voter unity may be harder to achieve — especially among young voters. A new poll from The Associated Press and University of Chicago suggests Clinton has yet to convince this group, perhaps Sanders' most reliable demographic this campaign season. Her weakness extends across racial and ethnic groups.

Hillary Clinton will already make history with her nomination for president, becoming the first woman to lead a major presidential ticket. Now the question is whether she wants to do it again with her choice of running mate.

Clinton is expected to name her vice presidential pick sometime after the Republican National Convention ends and before her own convention begins in Philadelphia on July 25.

On her list are several Hispanic lawmakers, African-Americans and at least one woman.

How's this for British irony: The United Kingdom is about to get a new prime minister, Theresa May, who voted in favor of keeping the country in the European Union.

By voting to leave the EU in a June 23 referendum, U.K. voters turned the country's politics upside down and prompted the immediate resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, a strong backer of remaining in the European body.

Now Cameron's dominant Conservative Party has found a successor, May, the home secretary and a longtime member of Parliament — who also favors staying in the EU.

What gives?

The campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders announced in coordinated statements that they will campaign together Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H.

"On Tuesday, July 12, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will join Hillary Clinton for a campaign event at Portsmouth High School to discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top," said the statement released by both campaigns.

One of two candidates to become the U.K.'s next prime minister has withdrawn from the race, leaving Theresa May in line to be the country's next leader.

Andrea Leadsom announced Monday she is backing out of the contest, citing the strong support for her opponent May and saying it was in Britain's best interests for the next leader to be put in place quickly.

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