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.

In at least 30 states nationwide, lawmakers have introduced bills aiming to keep transgender girls and women from participating on girls' and women's sports teams. These type of restrictions have become a major culture war battle, with Republican lawmakers being the loudest proponents of such bills, while Democrats often oppose them.

One recent tweet from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — along with its reams of snarky responses — sums up a key divide over infrastructure in Washington right now.

"Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure," she wrote.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a blunt initial response to the prospect of a new, climate-focused infrastructure package weighing in at around $2 trillion.

"The size of it is disappointing. It's not enough," she said.

When the South Dakota state legislature passed HB 1217 in early March, South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted that she was "excited" to sign it.

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Here are two trends that very well may be preoccupying the White House right now:

One, midterms tend to be rough for a president. The more seats the president's party holds in Congress, the more they tend to lose, according to data from the UCSB's American Presidency Project. In fact, if you plot seats lost or gained against seats held, the slope points decidedly downward.

Updated March 11, 2021 at 4:59 PM ET

There was an impassioned debate in the South Dakota State Senate this week over a proposed bill that would restrict transgender female students from participating in female sports.

Legislators supporting the bill framed their arguments around fairness.

Updated Feb. 25, 4:39 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also substantially expand the areas to which those discrimination protections apply.

"Cancel culture" is everywhere.

No, not cancel culture the phenomenon (that is, if you believe it is a phenomenon, an opinion that is itself contentious). Rather, "cancel culture" is everywhere — as in, the phrase that inundates you lately when you listen to a political speech or turn on cable news.

When Ezra Levin and his wife, Leah Greenberg, founded the progressive group Indivisible in 2016, they widely circulated a handbook on "resisting the Trump agenda." It took tactical lessons in grassroots politics from the Tea Party, which had prominently resisted President Barack Obama's agenda.

There's another lesson Levin now thinks progressives can take from the conservative Tea Party: It's easier to oppose a policy than to advance one.

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In President Trump's Jan. 6 speech ahead of the riot on Capitol Hill, there was a telling moment that was easy to miss amid his calls to "fight like hell." It was when Trump went on a tangent about the Republican governor of Georgia, one of the states Trump is angry he did not win on Election Day.​

In a speech addressing the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, Joe Biden acknowledged that with vaccines being distributed, "brighter days are coming." However, the speech overall had a sobering tone, with the president-elect acknowledging the more than 330,000 coronavirus deaths, as well as the potential for many more over the winter.

"We need to be honest: The next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, a very tough period for our nation — maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic," he said. "I know it's hard to hear, but it's the truth."

Last week, Idaho's Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo interrupted a district health board meeting tearfully.

"My 12-year-old son is home by himself right now, and there are protesters banging outside the door. I'm going to go home and make sure he's OK," she said before disappearing from the Zoom meeting.

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.

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.​

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.

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.

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.

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