Danielle Kurtzleben

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Kurtzleben spent a year as a correspondent for Vox.com. As part of the site's original reporting team, she covered economics and business news.

Prior to Vox.com, Kurtzleben was with U.S. News & World Report for nearly four years, where she covered the economy, campaign finance and demographic issues. As associate editor, she launched Data Mine, a data visualization blog on usnews.com.

A native of Titonka, Iowa, Kurtzleben has a bachelor's degree in English from Carleton College. She also holds a master's degree in global communication from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

At some point on election night 2020, as CNN's "KEY RACE ALERTS" rolled in and the map turned red and blue, things started to feel eerily like election night 2016.

Specifically, it was that déjà vu feeling of "Huh, maybe the polls were off." It was a feeling that grew as states such as Iowa and Ohio swung even harder for President Trump than polls seemed to indicate, key counties were tighter than expected and Republicans picked up one toss-up House seat after another.

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Minnesota's sprawling, rural 7th Congressional District has been represented by conservative Democrat Collin Peterson for 30 years. It was considered one of Democrats' most vulnerable seats going into this year's election, and the GOP flipped it when Michelle Fischbach won by 13 points.

Rep.-elect Fischbach credited one particular Republican with helping her win: Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.​

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In the run up to the 2020 election, many polls show Joe Biden and Democrats with a significant lead, both nationally and in multiple swing states. As NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reports, pollsters are now confronting the question of how far off polls were and what caused it.

When President Trump was released from the hospital after being treated for COVID-19, he had a prescription for how Americans could handle the coronavirus.

"Don't let it dominate you. Don't be afraid of it," he said in a video from the White House. The apparent idea: that the coronavirus, which has killed at least 225,000 people in the U.S., could be wrestled into submission.

Standing in front of the Supreme Court on the night of Sept. 20 was a striking moment for anyone who has paid attention to women in politics for the last four years.

That's not just because it was the night of a vigil for a feminist giant, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but because it provided a somber bookend to the last four years of the American women's movement.

With news that the president and first lady have tested positive for coronavirus, Tuesday night's presidential debate can seem like a distant memory by now.

That is particularly wild because the debate was unlike any Americans have tuned into before. CNN's Jake Tapper called it "the worst debate I have ever seen" and a "disgrace."

In other words, it was a mess — and quantifiably so.

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Alicia Aguiano drove down to Washington, D.C., from Philadelphia this weekend to pay her respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As she stood in front of the Supreme Court building, with its sidewalk covered in flowers and chalk tributes to Ginsburg, her voice quavered and she wiped at tears.

"I've just been super inspired by her. I really identify with her," she said. "I'm a lawyer, and I also teach at a law school. And so I fully recognize that I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for her, and so I just felt the need to come down and pay my respects."

If President Trump wins Wisconsin again, he'll have Republican stalwarts like Mary Ludwig to thank.

"I always vote Republican because I'm so against abortion," she said, sitting next to a lake in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc on a recent summer evening.

Ludwig has some reservations about Trump; she says that she doesn't like the "offensive" things he says. On the other hand, she also has things she admires about him: She really likes his kids and thinks he's handling the economy well.

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Decades before Sarah Palin or Geraldine Ferraro were put on presidential tickets, India Edwards was in contention for the vice presidency. At their 1952 convention, Democrats put forth Edwards, then vice chair of the party, as a potential running mate for Adlai Stevenson.

Edwards didn't want the job.

"First of all, I had no aspiration to be vice president of the United States," she told NPR in 1984. She added with a chuckle, "I also didn't think the Democratic Party was ready for a woman vice president."

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

This week, Joe Biden's campaign released its fourth and final plank in the former vice president's package of economic ideas: a plan for racial economic equity. It's a 26-page rundown of policies ranging from a plan to boost small businesses to a first-time homebuyer tax credit.

But contained in the plan was a less-flashy proposal: asking the Federal Reserve to explicitly take race into account when it sets policy.

On July 28, 2020, Mattel announced it would be releasing its seventh presidential Barbie. They have released one in nearly every cycle since 1992, but of course, America has yet to see Barbie in the Oval Office. But this year, for the first time, Mattel gave her a campaign team. Candidate Barbie 2020 came with a campaign manager, a fundraiser, and one (1) voter. There was renewed hope in the Barbie camp that this could be the year she won.

Candace Lightner became an activist 40 years ago when a drunken driver struck and killed her daughter, Cari.

Today, Lightner can talk about her daughter's death with little outward emotion. "It's not difficult at all, because I've done it so many times," she said before recounting the story in all its tragic detail, from the time her daughter was hit (around 1 p.m.) to the fact that the driver's wife turned him in.

Just four days afterward, Lightner recounts, she started putting together an activist group: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.

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Updated 5:05 p.m. ET, July 23

The White House is repealing and replacing an Obama-era rule intended to combat historic racial discrimination in housing.

In a Wednesday announcement, the White House said it would be rolling back the rule as a part of a broader deregulation push.

Just under eight years ago, Republicans were recovering from a stinging presidential election loss after Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by 126 electoral votes.

And so the GOP produced a 2013 report that came to be known as the "autopsy," laying out how the party should move forward — most notably, that it should expand its outreach to communities of color, women and young voters.

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Here's one way of understanding just how far off the map the U.S. economy is right now: The U.S. has now had two straight months where it has added more jobs than it did in all of 2019.

It's hard to know what's most notable about the Colorado Republican primary upset that ousted Rep. Scott Tipton on Tuesday night.

Mamie Brown is getting up earlier than ever these days.​

"A typical day for me starts about 4:30 to 5:00. I actually naturally wake up. I think part of that's my anxiety right now," she said. "And then when I do, very first thing in the morning is catch up on to-dos around the house and paperwork."

She's a self-employed lawyer in Fairbanks, Alaska, specializing in helping small businesses with things like contracts and HR issues. But now she and her husband are juggling work and their kids, ages 8 and 4.

Millennials might be getting a queasy sense of déjà vu right now. Another economic crisis — like a punch in the gut.

It's the second time for Alannah Silvernail.

In 2010, she was attending community college in western New York when she hit a rough patch.

"​My grandmother had passed away, and it ended up being a really tough semester for me," she said.

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET

Protesters staged large-scale demonstrations across the country on Sunday, expressing outrage at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and, more broadly, anger at police brutality. Some cities, including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Louisville, saw clashes with police, buildings and cars set afire, and looting.

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When the federal small business rescue program was announced, Krista Kern-Desjarlais scrambled to research it, talking to her banker and digging online.

Kern-Desjarlais runs two restaurants in Maine — the Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee, a summer-only food stand on Sabbathday Lake. She decided to hold off on that coronavirus rescue effort, called the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.

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