Don Gonyea

In Licking County, Ohio, east of the capital city of Columbus, bumper stickers on pickup trucks make it clear it is Trump Country.

And at a recent meeting of the county's Republican women's group, 66-year-old retiree Geraldine Jacobs made it clear that she's a Trump supporter.

"It's a shame that we went from the best president to now really the worst president," she says.

If President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan is going to become a reality, it will very likely need the vote of every Democrat in the evenly divided Senate.

That simple fact puts a bright spotlight on West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who represents a deep-red Republican state — a place that Donald Trump carried in the past two elections by some 40 percentage points.

The suburbs used to belong to the Republican Party. But those days are gone.

Driven by demographic change and increasing diversity, the political leanings of the suburbs have shifted. In many areas, those shifts accelerated in recent years, because a large number of suburban voters disliked former President Donald Trump. On top of that, a lot of them are turned off by a GOP that has fully embraced Trump-style populism and grievance, and an eagerness to put culture wars front and center.

In mid-February — barely a month into his term — President Biden gathered 10 union leaders in the Oval Office. The meeting lasted two hours.

"Every once in a while as president you get to invite close friends into the Oval," Biden said, laughing. He added: "These are the folks that brung me to the dance."

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No one expected him to ride quietly into the sunset. But when Donald J. Trump vacated the White House — freshly impeached for a second time, and still insisting on the lie that the election was stolen from him by massive voter fraud — it was an open question as to how much influence he would still wield within the GOP.

Even as President Trump continues to undermine the election results that made Joe Biden the president-elect, states have begun certifying their votes.

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North Carolina is a key presidential swing state. Democrats think they can flip it because of its growing suburban population and large African American vote, but both parties are mounting intense get-out-the-vote efforts. NPR's Don Gonyea checks in.

Even the most optimistic Democrats didn't have South Carolina on the list of Republican U.S. Senate seats they seriously thought they could flip at the start of 2020.

But a little more than two weeks out from Election Day, it's within reach.

Democrat Jaime Harrison — a 44-year-old former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, congressional aide and lobbyist — has risen in the polls and is giving three-term incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham something to worry about this election.

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Ask any Republican strategist about the state of their party in 2020 and you'll get an answer something like this from GOP consultant Antonia Ferrier. "This is Donald Trump's party," she said, "and I don't think that should be much of a surprise."

It's a nondescript, utilitarian room in the bowels of a sports arena. The presidential nomination is on the line. Aides to three candidates still in the contest are haggling with convention staff over who speaks when, will their biographical videos be shown, whose office space is nearest the floor. It's a political junkie's dream. It could be real. But it's not. This is how it played out in a 2012 episode of NBC's prime-time drama The West Wing.

One of a series of reports looking at Joe Biden's potential running mates


Susan Rice has a ready answer when asked about possibly being Joe Biden's pick for vice president.

"Whether I'm his running mate or I'm a door-knocker, I don't mind," Rice said during a recent appearance on NBC's Meet the Press. "I'm going to do everything I can to help get Joe Biden elected and to help him succeed as president."

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President Trump is acknowledging that he may have to temper his expectations, adamant at times, that his acceptance speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention should be a big event in front of thousands of people.

"We're very flexible," Trump said when asked during an interview Tuesday with Gray Television whether he may not have as big a gathering next month as he's planned on to celebrate his renomination to lead the GOP presidential ticket.

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