Democrats

Ashley Nickloes is a busy woman. She's working toward her master's degree. She has four living children (she specified that a fifth died after a preterm birth). And when I caught her, she was in St. Louis, doing simulator training for her role as a pilot in the Air National Guard.

"You know, you can only be busy a hundred percent of the time," she laughed. "You get enough sleep when you're dead."

On top of all that, she also ran for Congress in Tennessee last year, but lost in the primary.

Updated at 7:27 p.m. ET

A closed-door briefing for congressional leaders in the White House Situation Room on Wednesday failed to resolve any issues between Democrats and the Trump administration over funding for border security.

The stalemate has led to a partial government shutdown, now nearing the two-week mark.

"I don't think any particular progress was made," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters afterward.

Top Democrats announced late Sunday a series of changes to House rules that could eliminate causes of major instability during the previous eight years of Republican rule in Congress.

"We are proposing historic changes that will modernize Congress, restore regular order and bring integrity back to this institution," said incoming House Rules Chairman James McGovern, D-Mass., in a statement explaining the changes.

Bernie Sanders made his mark in the 2016 presidential election talking about millionaires and billionaires, not Houthis and the 1973 War Powers Act.

But, two years later, foreign policy is something the Vermont independent has focused on quite a bit, including taking the lead on a recent Senate resolution demanding the withdrawal of U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.

Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET

Heading into the 2020 Democratic primaries, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll has a warning for Democrats: Americans are largely against the country becoming more politically correct.

When Bernie Sanders went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert a week ago, he took a victory lap for his agenda.

Less than a month after the midterm elections, Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan are working to limit the powers of newly elected Democrats in statewide office.

Just two days after the Nov. 6 election in Wisconsin, when Democrat Tony Evers beat two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said a lame-duck session agenda was already taking shape.

Things may have changed, to borrow a phrase from the NPR Politics Podcast, by the time you finished digesting your turkey.

While most people try to take a break from the daily headlines during Thanksgiving, the political news often doesn't stop. That was especially true this year, as President Trump veered from grievance to grievance, the federal government published a report warning of the devastating consequences of climate change and U.S. border agents fired tear gas at migrants trying to force their way across the border with Mexico, among other major stories.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Last Sunday, Broward attorney and GOP State Committeeman Richard DeNapoli got a call from an employee at Avis Rent-A-Car in the Fort Lauderdale airport. Someone had found a lone provisional ballot box, sealed by the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office. It was sitting, unsupervised, in the back of a returned rental car.

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.

Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in January with big items topping their legislative to-do list: Remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money.

Party leaders say the first legislative vote in the House will come on H.R. 1, a magnum opus of provisions that Democrats believe will strengthen U.S. democratic institutions and traditions.

There are a lot of different ways to read the results from elections across the country Tuesday.

There will be lots of spin in the coming days about what it all means, but here are seven ways to cut through the noise and put what happened in context:

1. It was a Democratic wave in the House, and that is a very big deal.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Donna Shalala, a Democrat, won a long-held Republican congressional seat in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday, giving her party a crucial win in its bid to retake the House of Representatives.

Shalala defeated Maria Elvira Salazar, a well-known television journalist, by about six percentage points in a race that attracted national attention.

Updated at 3:44 a.m. ET Wednesday

Republicans and Democrats will split control of Congress next year. House Democrats are projected to pick up enough GOP-held seats to take the majority in the House, according to The Associated Press. Senate Republicans are projected to maintain and perhaps expand their majority.

The results create a divided Capitol Hill next year and mean President Trump's plans for new tax cuts, tougher immigration legislation and changes to the Affordable Care Act will be blocked.

Democratic non-incumbent women are more than two-and-a-half times as likely as Republican non-incumbent women to be in House races where their chances are toss-up or better. That's according to an NPR analysis of candidate data from Daily Kos and race ratings from Cook Political Report.

A record number of women ran for and were nominated for office this year — that's true among House, Senate, state legislature and governor candidates — and the overwhelming majority of them have been Democrats.

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