Don Gonyea

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.

Gonyea has been covering politics full-time for NPR since the 2000 presidential campaign. That's the year he chronicled a controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battle in Florida that awarded the White House to George W. Bush. Gonyea was named NPR White House Correspondent that year and subsequently covered the entirety of the Bush presidency, from 2001-2008. He was at the White House on the morning of Sept. 11, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the 2004 campaign, he traveled with both Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. He has served as co-anchor of NPR's election night coverage, and in 2008 Gonyea was the lead reporter covering Barack Obama's presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first-ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, as well as subsequent — and at times testy — meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Bratislava. He also covered Obama's first trip overseas as president. During the 2016 election, he traveled extensively with both GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. His coverage of union members and white working class voters in the Midwest also gave early insight into how candidate Trump would tap into economic anxiety to win the presidency.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Michigan on labor unions and the automobile industry. His first public radio job was at station WDET in Detroit. He has spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes at the major US auto companies, along with other labor disputes. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium.

He serves as a fill-in host on NPR news magazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Weekend All Things Considered.

Over the years, Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series "Lost & Found Sound."

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.

The current tally of 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls is enough to set a record in any previous primary season. But even with the giant number of candidates, the reality is that the winnowing has already begun.

The field is shrinking — slowly — but what's different this time compared to past campaigns is what's driving candidates to pack it in.

Here's what it's not — voters.

Trump campaign donors are under pressure.

Two high-profile episodes this week could signal a year in which the glare of the campaign usually reserved for candidates pivots to put those who make personal donations to political campaigns in the spotlight.

The first comes courtesy of Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, of San Antonio, who is also the co-chairman of his twin brother Julian Castro's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

In the 1970s, the band Algebra Mothers were cult favorites in Detroit's rebellious punk rock scene.

The four friends from Cass Tech High School released a single called "Strawberry Cheesecake" that earned them a cult following. They toured around with some well-known punk bands — but then the music stopped, and the Algebra Mothers disappeared for the next 40 years.

January 2016. The New Hampshire primary was just weeks away. Donald Trump slid into a booth at the Red Arrow Diner in downtown Manchester and ordered a deep-fried concoction featuring a cheeseburger topped with mac 'n' cheese and smothered with cheesy sauce.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 presidential candidacy is barely a day old, but it is already ensnared in questions about how the Democratic candidate handled the 1991 sexual harassment accusations by law professor Anita Hill against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Biden appeared on ABC's The View Friday morning and told the show's five female co-hosts: "I'm sorry for the way she got treated." But then he added that people should go back and look at what he said during those hearings, asserting, "I don't think I treated her badly."

It was a frigid 15 degrees on the picket line along the railroad tracks in Wilmerding, Pa. More than 100 union members and activists chanted slogans of solidarity and in favor of a fair contract with Wabtec Corporation — a company that builds freight train locomotives. It turned out to be the final hours of a nine-day walkout by 1,700 workers.

It wasn't the biggest city in the mix. Or the most diverse. Or the flashiest. But in the end, the winner is — Milwaukee!

Democrats have chosen the city on Lake Michigan as the site of their nominating convention to be held in the summer of 2020. It beats out two other finalists — Houston and Miami. Each of those towns had much to entice the DNC: plenty of hotel rooms, major arenas, event space, experience with major conventions. Each also has a large Latino population — voters Democrats need as a major element of any winning coalition in the next presidential election.

Here's something Democrats thought they knew during the last presidential campaign: Wisconsin was safe. It was a lock for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But when the votes were counted, it was a stunning upset for Republican Donald Trump.

In 2020, Democrats apparently aren't taking the state for granted.

Even though the first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are some 11 months away, and with Wisconsin's primary not until April 7 of next year, the campaign stops have already begun.

It took three full weeks — 21 days — for President Bill Clinton and the Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to settle an impasse that partially shut down the government in 1995-96.

That particular moment is a landmark in U.S. political history, birthing a new era of American gridlock that arguably led to the sharp partisanship that has gripped the nation — and delivered a new record for a partial government shutdown, marking Day 22 on Saturday.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

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