Asma Khalid | KCUR

Asma Khalid

Asma Khalid is a political correspondent covering the 2020 presidential campaign.

Before joining NPR's political team, Asma helped launch a new team for Boston's NPR station WBUR where she reported on biz/tech and the Future of Work.

She's reported on a range of stories over the years — including the 2016 presidential campaign, the Boston Marathon bombings and the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger.

Asma got her start in journalism in her home state of Indiana, but was introduced to radio through an internship at BBC Newshour in London during grad school.

Former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled an ethics plan on Monday that directly targets President Trump, accusing him of creating the "most corrupt administration in modern history." It's a sign the Democratic presidential candidate is ramping up his defense ahead of the fourth Democratic debate in Ohio on Tuesday.

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Jeromy Brown, a 46-year-old teacher in Iowa, considers President Trump a white supremacist.

"If the shoe fits, then say it, and the shoe fits him," Brown said, while waiting in a photo line at an Elizabeth Warren rally in August. "Why should he be excused from that label?"

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a sweeping gun control plan Saturday with the goal of reducing gun deaths by 80% through executive action and legislation.

"You've got to start with a goal. I haven't heard anybody else talk about a goal," Warren said in an interview with The NPR Politics Podcast. "What I've heard them talk about is here's one thing we'll do, and one thing we'll do, and one thing we'll do, and then we'll quit."

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A presidential debate, especially with 10 candidates, is at least one part reality show.

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Before the first presidential debate last month, former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign signaled that he expected to be attacked by the candidates trailing him in the polls but that Biden would essentially ignore all incoming fire.

It was a classic front-runner approach. And it was punctured, hard and fast, by California Sen. Kamala Harris' attack on Biden's past opposition to federal busing policies.

Justin Krebs, a campaign director with MoveOn, isn't interested in hearing pundits debate which 2020 Democratic candidate is the most "electable."

"Because exactly four years ago right now there was a messy, crowded primary, with too many candidates, people who were totally unelectable, and Donald Trump was one of them and ended up winning," he pointed out.

And in the same vein, many Democrats thought Barack Obama was unelectable until he started winning primaries in 2008.

Progressive activists feel like this is their moment.

Their values are no longer seen as fringe ideas in the Democratic Party. Multiple presidential candidates are talking about "Medicare-for-all," reparations for slavery and bold action on climate change. And their ideas are driving the action on debate stages.

Now, as they gather in Philadelphia for the largest progressive convention of the year, Netroots Nation, they feel empowered as if this is their time to take over the party, push traditional Democrats aside and hold candidates accountable.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.

When bipartisan immigration discussions pop up, Democrats often insist it's hard to find a solution because of the GOP's immigration evolution. The days of Ronald Reagan endorsing an amnesty program and denouncing walls are long gone, replaced by President Trump's talk of "rapists" and quest for a wall.

Given the historically large number of Democrats expected to run for president in 2020, the Democratic National Committee is preparing to host the first two primary debates, with each debate split into two consecutive nights to accommodate up to a maximum of 20 candidates.

The DNC announced details Thursday for the first two primary debates of the season.

The first debate, scheduled for this June, will be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. The second debate, slated for July, will be broadcast on CNN.

In the spring of 2015, before Bernie Sanders had a campaign office in New Hampshire, Elizabeth Ropp, an acupuncturist, was making homemade signs for the Vermont senator.

"Bernie inspired me because as somebody who's lived without health insurance for most of my adult life, I want there to be a single-payer health care system," she said.

She was disappointed Sanders wasn't the nominee and is convinced that if he had been, Donald Trump would not be president.

"I want to see Bernie run again in 2020," said Ropp. "We need Bernie to run even if the field is crowded."

Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET

When Elizabeth Warren announced her exploratory committee for president at the end of last month, the Massachusetts senator didn't only talk about a crumbling middle class - her signature policy issue - but she acknowledged the impact of race and racism on the economy, saying that "families of color" face a rockier path "made even harder by the impact of generations of discrimination."

Angie Beem used to be a woman who, at most, would read the voter pamphlet before Election Day, cast a vote, and consider her duty done. She didn't pay attention to politics much because she didn't think it affected her life.

But that all changed ahead of the 2016 presidential election when she noticed Facebook posts that deeply troubled her.

"My family were starting to be racist and saying horrible things," said Beem. "I didn't recognize them."

Marilynn Leggio, 71, brought her teenage granddaughter with her to an Elizabeth Warren rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, last Friday evening.

Leggio says she has "no doubt" the Massachusetts senator would do a "good job" as president, but given Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016, she's not sure whether the country will take a chance on another woman in 2020.

"I think there's a lot of men out there that would never vote for a woman," said Leggio. "I hate to say that, but I think that. Especially a woman that's strong, very opinionated. I think a lot of men think she's pushy."

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Day following surgery for early stage lung cancer, according to a Supreme Court spokesperson.

Ginsburg is now "recuperating at home," after doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York performed surgery on Ginsburg to remove cancerous growths found on her left lung.

When Democratic politicians talk about race, they sound fundamentally more liberal than their party did a decade ago. That isn't limited to black leaders who've become rising stars in the party, like California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

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Updated at 1:08 p.m. ET

After days of mounting criticism for mishandling ballots and overall election mismanagement as Florida conducts three statewide recounts, Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has suggested she might not want to stay on the job for long.

The deadly mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., last week came less than a day after dozens of Democrats who campaigned on promises to strengthen gun laws were elected to the House of Representatives. Across the country, candidates from Virginia, Georgia, Texas and Washington state bluntly called for more gun safety, seemingly emboldened to take on the National Rifle Association.

As results roll in on election night, pundits and political junkies will carefully be watching the exit polls for a glimpse into who voted for which candidate and why.

But exit polls are complicated, and sometimes misleading, as they were in 2016.

For one thing, be careful about reading too much into exit polls early in the night. As more data comes in, they can be more useful later in the evening to explain what's happening — more so than predicting results before the polls have closed.

It's a political puzzle that frustrates Democrats — in two states where Donald Trump is deeply unpopular, two incumbent GOP governors have remained consistently popular.

Maryland and Massachusetts are places where Trump has his lowest approval ratings in the country — 35 percent. Yet, the Republican governors in those states have approval ratings near 70 percent.

Democrats Andrew Gillum and Tony Evers are both carrying the progressive banner in tight races for governor, but their differing ideologies and strategies show how the label has broadened appeal and less definition in 2018.

Gillum is the charismatic 39-year-old mayor of Tallahassee barnstorming the state of Florida in his bid to become the state's first black governor. His progressive agenda, embraced by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, combined with identity politics is intended to bring together a coalition.

Christine Garcia, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom, doesn't consider herself a particularly political person. But like a lot of women, she has strong opinions about President Trump.

"Maybe on the business side ... the money is better as far as I understand," Garcia said. "But a lot of the other things are very worrisome," she added with a laugh, as she pushed her daughter on a swing in a park in Birmingham, Mich., an affluent suburb of Detroit.

Garcia considers herself a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.

Jagada Chambers was sent to prison for attempted second-degree murder in 2000. The story, as he tells it, was that he was on spring break with friends during college and got into a physical altercation with an acquaintance.

He was released four years later, in August 2004, and his understanding was that his voting rights were gone forever.

Just in the past few months, elections in the U.S. have been decided by hundreds of votes.

The 2016 presidential election tilted to Donald Trump with fewer than 80,000 votes across three states, with a dramatic impact on the country. Yet, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots in 2016.

Quentin James was tired of the Democratic Party taking black votes for granted without investing in building black political power. So, in 2016, he started the Collective PAC to fund progressive black politicians. The following year, James, a veteran of the Obama campaign, established a boot camp — the Black Campaign School — to train those candidates.

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Mike Davis didn't think Donald Trump could get elected.

Davis is the kind of Republican who backed Ohio governor John Kasich in the 2016 primaries, the kind of Republican who subscribes to the Wall Street Journal. Davis, 64, is the former mayor of Dunwoody, Ga., a small city in the state's 6th Congressional District, one of the most highly-educated districts in the country.

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