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NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Harry Enten, a political analyst for FiveThirtyEight, about whether newspaper endorsements are meaningful to presidential candidates.

Every four years, Iowans are deluged with the talking points, the stump speeches, the polls and, of course, the ads.

They also hear that they shouldn't be first. Iowans are too white, too old and too few to merit first-in-the-nation status, say the critics.

But if Iowa shouldn't be first, who should be? For more than a century, reformers have been proposing ideas for how to change the primary system. And they've been failing. And they'll probably continue to fail.

This post was updated at 10 p.m. ET

When Donald Trump spoke at Liberty University last week, the school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., heaped praised upon him.

Falwell claimed his glowing remarks were not an endorsement.

That has changed.

On Tuesday morning, Falwell — the leader of one of the largest evangelical universities in the world and son of famed televangelist Jerry Falwell, founder of the "Moral Majority" — officially backed the controversial billionaire real-estate mogul for president.

If you weren't tuned in to two hours of late-night cable, you would have missed Democrats making a final urgent pitch to voters Monday night in an Iowa town hall. We'll catch up you up.

-- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., defended being a Democratic socialist — and admitted he'd raise taxes to pay for his health care plan.

After devoting decades of her life to a cause — demonstrating for peace and against nuclear proliferation — Concepcion Picciotto has died. Persisting through cold and rough weather, she was a fixture outside the White House, where she was often called the president's closest neighbor.

Her protest vigil is considered the longest in U.S. history.

Donald Trump doubled down on rival Ted Cruz's citizenship Monday night, again questioning whether the Canadian-born Texas senator is eligible for the presidency.

"My new battle is with a gentleman named Ted Cruz," the billionaire real-estate mogul said at a rally in Farmington, N.H. "The Canadian, the man from Canada."

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A bipartisan task force created by Congress issued "an urgent call to action" Tuesday to overhaul the nation's federal prisons and reduce the number of U.S. inmates by 60,000 over the next decade.

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If you are getting spooked by plunging stock prices, you may be trying to figure out where the economy is heading.

Here's one new sign that better days are coming:

In the latest survey of business economists, most — 58 percent — say their companies plan to raise workers' wages this winter. That's the most upbeat wage outlook since mid-2014, according to the quarterly survey done by the National Association for Business Economics.

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It's something we hear in every election season. Don't obsess over polls. Go tell it to Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: So CNN came out 33 for Trump; 20 for Cruz. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah.

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This week, NPR and some member stations will be taking the temperature of the electorate in communities around the country. You can follow those stations, via Twitter, here.

The mood of the voters is one of the most important political factors in an election year. This year voters are anxious, frightened and angry.

Candidates in both parties are trying to show they get it.

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If you had to name a state where Donald Trump's political rise has caused the greatest disruption, New Hampshire would be a good pick. Trump has led every poll taken there since June — while tearing up the traditional Republican playbook for winning in New Hampshire.

Trump has avoided the retail politicking that most other campaigns view as a must-do in favor of large rallies. He has never even spent two days back to back in the state campaigning.

With a little more than a week to go until the Iowa caucuses, the Des Moines Register endorsed Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in the 2016 presidential race.

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With less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucus, Donald Trump remains characteristically confident about his chances. In fact, the Republican front-runner is so confident, he says his supporters would stay loyal even if he happened to commit a capital offense.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It's, like, incredible."

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A divorced New York businessman billionaire with a mixed political history and knack for controversy and grabbing the spotlight might run for president. Another one.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is again weighing a possible independent bid for the White House after seeing an opening in a chaotic and unpredictable 2016 race.

When you think of Iowa, you probably think — lots of white people. And, that's true, but the state is also home to a growing number of Latinos.

Hispanics now make up 5.6 percent of the state's population, according to 2014 estimates from the Census Bureau. To put that in perspective, that means the Hispanic community in Iowa these days is twice the size it was during the 2000 caucuses.

And, this year, for the first time, Latinos in Iowa are trying to systematically organize themselves to caucus.

It's a challenge.

It's easy to get cynical about the presidential campaign, especially so close to the first round of voting, when many candidates are on the attack.

But see it up close and personal, and the process can feel a bit more charming. That's what a class from Indiana's Manchester University found as it traveled across Iowa last week, taking in the caucuses.

When Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for president this week, it was a surprise move, but one that seemed perfectly logical.

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