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.

Trade is a signature policy area for President Trump, and one where he has been able to take dramatic action. Trump's protectionist policies appealed to voters in the industrial Midwest, the region that was critical to his 2016 victory. Now, Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning in the shadow of Trump's tariffs, subsequent trade wars, and pursuit of a replacement for NAFTA.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Even before Biden arrived in New Hampshire, voters here may have already heard him attacking Trump. Here is Biden in a new ad released last week intended to run in early states.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

Aside from having proposals for programs they would like to implement, Democratic presidential candidates have proposals for how they would like government to function.

The primary campaign has brought forth proposals to change all three branches of government, potentially impacting how laws are passed, the size and function of the Supreme Court, and how presidents are elected.

Below, we summarize how the 2020 Democratic contenders want to change U.S. governance in these three areas.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is now explicitly saying President Trump should be impeached.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Thus far in 2019, there has been more than one mass shooting per day in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. And while gun control is usually a topic in a Democratic presidential primary, this year's mass shootings have repeatedly brought gun control to the forefront of the primary policy debate.

Below, we examine the Democratic presidential candidates' positions on five gun policy topics.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is canceling presidential campaign events "until further" notice following a heart procedure, campaign senior adviser Jeff Weaver said Wednesday morning.

Weaver said in a brief written statement that Sanders "experienced some chest discomfort" during a Tuesday evening campaign event.

Once again, health care took up a large chunk of a Democratic primary debate. Once again, there were fights over costs, coverage and whether the party is growing too extreme.

But this time, all of the front-runners were onstage together, providing the first opportunity for all of them to take direct aim at each other and their vastly differing health care plans. It made for some heated exchanges, putting "Medicare for All" supporters on defense. But it also showed clearly that some candidates are cautious not to criticize others' proposals too harshly.

Donald Trump's immigration stances — family separation, a ban on immigrants from several majority-Muslim nations, the cancellation of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, to name a few — have given Democrats much to criticize as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

It means that the Democratic candidates are pretty uniform in coming out hard against the president on immigration. However, they differ on the particulars of what policies they would like to put into place instead and, in many cases, have not articulated what they would do specifically.

Climate change — or, more precisely, fighting climate change — has quickly become one of the top priorities among Democratic voters. Increasingly dire warnings about the devastating effects of climate change, as well as the sweeping Green New Deal proposed this year in Congress, have helped the topic gain traction among voters and politicians alike.

Health care helped propel Democrats to victory in a wave of elections in 2018, and it remains a top issue for voters heading into 2020.

But the conversation has changed over two years; while in the last midterms health care debates revolved around protecting the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, after GOP attempts to repeal it, presidential candidates ahead of 2020 are focusing more on overhauling the entire health care system.

What do the men of Gilead do all day?

We learn very little about it in The Testaments. We hear of one who mostly shuts himself in his study, away from his family, to work all day. We learn that a high-ranking government official serially kills off each of his teenage wives once they get too old for his tastes, then seeks out new targets. We learn that another respected man is a pedophile who gropes young girls.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Updated at 1:13 a.m. ET

Wednesday night, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand blasted Joe Biden for a 1980s position on the child care tax credit and a comment he wrote about the "deterioration of the family."

Here's what Gillibrand said:

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris has released a health care plan just in time for the second Democratic debate, offering a role for private insurance in a "Medicare for All" system and outlining new taxes to pay for it.

The plan comes after months of questions about whether she supports scrapping private insurance — and as former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be gearing up to attack her at the upcoming debate on her support for Medicare for All.

Elizabeth Warren made sure to specially thank South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn when they introduced their student debt forgiveness plan this week.

The reason: He might actually get a vote on it.

"I am deeply grateful to the congressman for taking this first piece on student debt cancellation so that we have a chance to work it through the House. Right now, we're not likely to get a vote in the Senate," she said, to chuckles in the audience.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

At the Democratic presidential debate this week, voters got a preview of how Democrats will handle what for now is an uphill battle against President Trump.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Moderator Lester Holt got the candidates last night to put a difference in health insurance on display.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 candidates will take the Democratic debate stage to talk about a wide range of policy topics. And 20 candidates times dozens of policies equals a lot to keep track of.

It's true that, these being Democratic candidates, there's a lot they all agree on — taking action on climate change, for example, or improving the health care system. But this debate is the first time we'll see them next to each other, coming into direct conflict over what, exactly, they disagree on.

The lineups are set for the first Democratic presidential primary debates.

Among the debate matchups: Former Vice President Joe Biden, currently leading in primary polls nationally, will face off against Vermont senator and 2016 candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will face New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday the list of presidential candidates who will take the stage at the first primary debates, on June 26 and 27.

To accommodate the massive field of candidates, the debates will be spread over two nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage for each two-hour debate.

Here are the candidates who the DNC said have made the cut, in alphabetical order:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker*

In 2005, bankruptcy was on the rise and had been for years.

Lawmakers were pondering why, exactly, that was happening — and what, if anything, they should do about it — when two future presidential rivals squared off over a bankruptcy overhaul bill that would restrict who could write off their personal debts.

Updated 2:07 p.m.

Bernie Sanders didn't have his usual adoring crowds at his Wednesday campaign stop. That's because he spoke to Walmart shareholders at their annual meeting.

Alice Rivlin, former President Bill Clinton's budget director who overcame sexism to become the first woman to serve in that role, has died of cancer, the Brookings Institution confirmed Tuesday. She was 88.

Her name may not be widely known outside of Washington, but she had a hand in five decades of the nation's economic policy. At the peak of her power, she was one of the most influential and respected nonelected officials in the country.

A West Virginia town of roughly 400 people isn't an obvious place for a progressive Democrat to campaign for president. But nevertheless, there was Elizabeth Warren rallying her supporters in the town of Kermit last Friday.

Warren spoke to a small crowd in the town firehouse about the opioid crisis, while Trump supporters demonstrated by the highway just outside.

"It's time to talk about personal responsibility, and that means the people who helped create this problem. And I've got a plan for that," Warren said, to loud cheers.

Workers on the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign have ratified a union contract with management, which says it is the first campaign union contract at the presidential level.

The campaign and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 — with whom the workers are affiliated — both announced the agreement on Wednesday.

Jill Biden is accomplished in her own right — she holds two master's degrees and a doctoral degree. But then, her husband is the former vice president and a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2020.

And so while she has maintained her own career, she has also taken her husband's aspirations in stride.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 3:41 p.m. ET

Talk to enough Democratic voters this campaign season, and you hear a certain idea over and over.

"I'd love to vote for a woman. I'm not sure that any of the women candidates will make it to the top in the way that I think Biden and Beto will," said Patti Rutka, who turned out to a March event in New Hampshire for former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Pages