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Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead President Trump in the 2020 presidential election nationally by a substantial margin, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Biden leads Trump by 9 points, 52% to 43%, among likely voters, the survey finds. This is the first time this election cycle the poll has screened for likely voters — this narrower group is the most likely to actually cast a ballot, compared to the larger group of people who are registered to vote.

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It looks, for now, like President Trump has bounced back a little after bottoming out.

The president was at a low point against former Vice President Joe Biden, but in the past month, even though Biden still has an edge, the landscape has tightened some, according to the latest NPR Electoral College analysis.

Where the major party presidential campaigns are spending their money on TV advertising can tell you a lot about where they're focusing their efforts.

And based on that, it's pretty clear that the race between President Trump and Joe Biden is coming down to just six swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. They are getting the lion's share of the TV advertising money from the campaigns and outside groups supporting them.

President Trump's base has gotten smaller.

That's a key finding of an analysis of how the U.S. electorate has changed since 2016, based on census data analyzed by the Brookings Institution and NPR.

In 2016, Trump was helped to victory by winning a record margin among white voters without a college degree. But in the last four years, they have declined as a share of the voting-eligible population across the U.S. and in states critical to the presidential election. Nationally, the group has gone from 45% of eligible voters to 41%.

Well, the 2020 national political conventions are over.

The Republicans wrapped up Thursday night, and there was a lot to digest, not least a clearer sense of what the post-Labor Day sprint is going to look and sound like.

Follow live coverage of the RNC all week at NPR.org/conventions.

The first night of the Republican National Convention was a little scattershot. It seemed to be partially about counter-programming the Democratic National Convention last week, partially intended to fire up the base and partially aimed at winning back some of those 2016 Trump voters who are having second thoughts.

Since the Democrats wrapped up their glitch-free virtual convention, now it's Republicans' turn.

Democrats have to be very happy with what they were able to accomplish this week with their convention.

Their production of the first all-virtual convention went off mostly without a hitch. At times, the last night seemed like whiplash with a serious segment on faith and forgiveness followed by snark from emcee Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for example.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On the first night of their convention, Democrats and some Republicans made their case against President Trump. On the second night, the party did some formal business.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION)

Updated at 11:19 a.m. ET

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday night in its first completely virtual, made-for-TV incarnation. It was unlike any convention night seen in years past. The most glaring difference: the absence of delegates and an audience.

That presented hurdles that the party tried to vault with a highly produced event that felt, at times, like a political infomercial mixed with a bit of "We Are The World" — and included one standout speech from former first lady Michelle Obama.

The Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday night and will take place from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET each evening through Thursday, when it will end with the official selection of former Vice President Joe Biden to be the Democratic nominee.

This convention will look and feel different from past years because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic event was supposed to take place in person in Milwaukee before the coronavirus hit, but now it's going to take place all virtually and be a big TV production with speakers and guests located across the country.

Democrat Joe Biden's lead has expanded to double-digits against President Trump in the presidential election, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds. Biden now leads Trump 53% to 42%, up from an 8-point advantage at the end of June.

The change comes as 71% of Americans now see the coronavirus as a real threat, up significantly over the last several months, as more than 167,000 Americans have died and more than 5 million have become infected with the virus, as of Friday.

Joe Biden picked California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate.

It's a historic pick. But there's a lot more to it than that.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Biden picking Harris is a statement on what it means to be American.

Biden picking Harris as his running mate is historic. No Black or South Asian American woman has ever been on a major-party ticket in U.S. history. Black voters, especially Black women, are pillars of the Democratic Party and were key to Biden's victory in the contest for the nomination.

The ad is stark.

An elderly white woman is watching the news. An anchor reports that cities want to "defund" the police, as she hears a noise coming from elsewhere in the house.

She calls 911 — as Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity says that Joe Biden is "absolutely on board with defunding the police" — only to be told that there is no one there to answer her call and she should leave a message.

Democrats are haunted by the ghosts of 2016.

Hillary Clinton led in many polls over Donald Trump throughout that election cycle, and while the national polls were pretty dead-on when it came to the popular vote, some key battleground state polls got it wrong.

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It's hard to believe that the hole President Trump dug for himself could get deeper, but it has.

It's exactly three months until Election Day, but the focus this week is on Capitol Hill. Here are five things to watch:

A new report from the centrist Democratic group Third Way, shared first with NPR, finds that Democrats are on track to win the suburbs in five of six key states they lost in the 2016 presidential election.

The analysis is based on voter-file data from the progressive-aligned firm Catalist and models that measure the likelihood of people to vote Democratic or Republican. It finds the following:

With less than 100 days until Election Day, here's where things stand:

Suburban voters have been growing as a share of the electorate since the mid-1990s, and they have become consequential in presidential elections. They could be determinative in this one too, as they make up roughly half of all voters.

Since George W. Bush's reelection, the candidate who won the suburbs won the election, except in 2012. Then, Mitt Romney won the suburbs and lost to Barack Obama, showing why it's even more important for a Republican to win over suburban voters.

With COVID-19 cases going up in places key to his reelection and his poll numbers in those same places going down, President Trump has been boxed in to shifting course.

Let's recap. This week, as NPR's Ayesha Rascoe recounted on NPR's Morning Edition Friday, Trump:

  • Endorsed wearing masks, calling it "patriotic" after resisting wearing them publicly for months.

Congress returns from a summer recess Monday as many states experience spikes in confirmed coronavirus cases.

State governments face a precipitous drop in revenue, parents and teachers are debating how kids will return to school in the fall, and millions of unemployed workers face the prospect of their pandemic assistance running out at the end of the month.

President Trump downplayed the danger of the coronavirus, claiming in an interview that aired Sunday that many cases are simply people who "have the sniffles."

"Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day," Trump said in his interview with Fox News Sunday. "They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test." He added that many of those sick "are going to get better very quickly."

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

President Trump dismissed outrage over police killings, saying Tuesday that "more white people" are killed by police than Black people.

"So are white people!" Trump said when asked in an interview with CBS News about why so many African Americans have been killed at the hands of police. "So are white people! What a terrible question to ask."

Trump added that "more white people, by the way" are killed by police than Black people.

Updated 11:52 a.m. ET

To take control of the U.S. Senate, Democrats need to net three seats in November if former Vice President Joe Biden wins, and four if President Trump is reelected.

That once looked like a near impossibility, but it's becoming a real possibility.

Republicans hold a 53-to-47 majority in the Senate, with the Democrats' side including two independents who caucus with them.

Supreme Court cases are complicated, and their implications can be muddy.

But a few things are clear from what the court decided Thursday about the President Trump's financial records. Presidents do not have absolute immunity from having to release financial records, and more specifically to Trump, we likely won't see his taxes until after the presidential election.

Updated 10:45 a.m. ET

In an unusually divisive speech for a president on the Fourth of July holiday weekend, President Trump on Friday decried a "growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for."

What is it? Terrorism? Polarization? A lack of trust in institutions?

After weeks of protests against police brutality and racism, and amid a renewed spike in coronavirus cases, the number of voters disapproving of the job President Trump is doing is at an all-time high, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

Trump's approval rating sits at just 40% overall, while a record 58% disapprove.

As protests stemming from George Floyd's killing at the hands of Minneapolis police spread across the country, Black progressives appear to have had a good night in Democratic primaries Tuesday, while some Republicans endorsed by President Trump did not fare as well on the GOP side.

Three races in New York and Virginia, and perhaps one in Kentucky, highlight what could be the start of something important in Democratic politics — the surge of Black candidates.

About 120,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus.

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