Mara Liasson | WYPR

Mara Liasson

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

Each election year, Liasson provides key coverage of the candidates and issues in both presidential and congressional races. During her tenure she has covered seven presidential elections — in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Prior to her current assignment, Liasson was NPR's White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She has won the White House Correspondents' Association's Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage in 1994, 1995, and again in 1997. From 1989-1992 Liasson was NPR's congressional correspondent.

Liasson joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter and newscaster. From September 1988 to June 1989 she took a leave of absence from NPR to attend Columbia University in New York as a recipient of a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism.

Prior to joining NPR, Liasson was a freelance radio and television reporter in San Francisco. She was also managing editor and anchor of California Edition, a California Public Radio nightly news program, and a print journalist for The Vineyard Gazette in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Liasson is a graduate of Brown University where she earned a bachelor's degree in American history.

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The 2018 election cycle has officially begun, with the first primaries being held in Texas on Tuesday.

In every campaign cycle, analysts look at the fundamentals — the political laws of gravity that, in the past, have influenced elections. In 2016, Donald Trump seemed to defy a lot of these laws, and Republicans are hoping they can do the same this year to prevent the hit that the party in power usually takes in a president's first midterm elections.

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Lawmakers in Washington and Tallahassee have discussed a lot of ideas to reduce school shootings, but on the hardest questions — like what to do about guns — there is just no clear consensus.

There are few signs of clarity from President Trump, who has taken a leading role in the debate without providing strong direction to solve the problem.

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It has been more than a week since the first reports emerged about alleged domestic abuse by White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter denied the allegations but resigned a day later, last Wednesday. Yet, the scandal over his departure has not waned.

He was consistently at President Trump's side, charged with handling the flow of paper to the president, including sensitive information, while holding an interim security clearance. It's still not clear exactly which top White House officials knew what and when about the allegations against Porter.

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When President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, he'll be giving his assessment of the economy and national security. But occasions like these are also a good time to take a look at the state of our politics.

The state of our politics is...tribal (and mistrustful)

More than ever before voters and politicians seem to be taking sides not according to issues or principles or ideology but according to their political tribe.

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Well, one unknown in the path forward on immigration is President Trump. What kind of a deal will he agree to? And how actively will Trump, who prizes himself as a great dealmaker, be flexing his negotiating muscles?

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As we've just heard, we've heard some of what President Trump had to say about this deal. Later in the day in a speech, Trump made another pitch for it, urging Americans to call on Congress to help push the measure over the finish line.

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Once upon a time, there was a group of conservative intellectuals who were agnostic about Donald Trump.

They were not "Never Trumpers," but they weren't Trump superfans either.

They thought Trumpism might offer something new for the GOP. Since Trump wasn't tied to the orthodoxies of either party he could, theoretically, offer a more populist path toward the future for Republicans.

Conservative writer Henry Olsen, at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, looked to the tax plan to reflect this new vision, but it wasn't there.

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President Trump went to Utah on Monday. The official purpose of his trip was to announce the reduction of two national monuments in the state, though he could have signed those orders in the Oval Office.

But the journey west may have served a political purpose for the president — to keep a political rival out of Washington.

Democrats' success in this month's elections was bigger than expected, and was fueled in part by strong opposition to President Trump. In the past few weeks, there's been a lot of chatter about whether that means a big, blue wave is forming off the political coast that could potentially crash into the 2018 midterm elections.

We asked Republicans and Democrats what the off-year elections could mean for their parties next year. Here are five takeaways.

1. Good news for Democrats

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When Donald Trump won the election a year ago, he promised to be a transformational president, to drain the swamp, shake up the establishment and do away with gridlock. He also predicted that being president would change him.

A year ago Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, and the surprises haven't stopped since.

He promised to be a transformational president, to "drain the swamp" and shake up the establishment.

And he promised that being president would change him — saying that he could become more "presidential" than anyone except Abraham Lincoln.

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The past few days have been particularly chaotic, even for a president who seems to thrive on self-created chaos.

There's been a feud with a key Republican senator, a flare-up at a professional football game with President Trump instructing his vice president to walk out when players (on the most activist team in the NFL) knelt during the national anthem, and he even questioned the IQ of his secretary of state.

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