Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

More votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election than in any other U.S. election in history, and the turnout rate was the highest in more than a century.

President-elect Joe Biden has now earned 80 million votes, and ballots are still being counted. That is by far the most votes cast for any presidential candidate in U.S. history. President Trump holds the distinction, however, of earning the second-most votes all time. About 74 million Americans voted for him.

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There was a debate in the runup to this year's presidential election about whether it would be a base election or a persuasion one. In other words, what would matter more for a candidate — turning out one side's core voters, or winning over undecideds and wavering supporters of President Trump?

Based on an NPR analysis of the more than 3,000 counties, it was, in fact, mostly a base election with some key persuasion in Democratic-leaning suburbs that went for Joe Biden by wider margins than they did for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election Saturday morning.

And yet, President Trump has not conceded or accepted it, and the agency responsible for doling out funds and office space during a transition is denying that money to the Biden team, implying that the results of the election are not yet certain and referencing the "precedent" of the contested 2000 presidential election.

Republicans outperformed the polls up and down the ballot in the 2020 election, to the surprise even of many Republican political operatives and survey researchers.

To be clear, Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump; Democrats will still control the House and still have a chance of picking up the Senate.

The tumultuous and chaotic Trump presidency is coming to an end — even if President Trump himself hasn't accepted it yet.

Democrat Joe Biden is now the president-elect, according to calls from The Associated Press, which NPR relies on for race calls, as well as all the other broadcast networks.

Biden is currently at 290 electoral votes, 20 more than needed thanks to Pennsylvania, which was called Saturday. Biden is on track to win 306 electoral votes if his slim lead holds in Georgia.

Almost two-thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, a majority disapprove of the job President Trump is doing and more than half do not think the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, according to early data from AP VoteCast.

Well, we still don't know who the president-elect is.

Is there a less-surprising outcome for 2020?

Here are six takeaways from one of the strangest election nights in recent history:

1. This is going to go on a while

This election is now coming down to the former Blue Wall states that President Trump toppled in 2016 — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. We won't know results perhaps for days, because Wisconsin and Pennsylvania couldn't start processing mail-in votes until Election Day, and Michigan could only start Monday.

Almost every election cycle, someone on one side or the other is claiming that this is the most important election in their lifetime.

Well, this one actually probably is — and it appears voters think so, too.

The election is already setting records for turnout, and perhaps no two candidates are more at odds over the future of the country and the direction they want to take it in. This election is fundamentally about what it means to be an American.

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The final NPR Electoral College map analysis shows Democrat Joe Biden going into Election Day with the clear edge, while President Trump has a narrow but not impossible path through the states key to winning the presidency.

The home stretch of a presidential campaign can be warping.

"In this final phase, the feedback loop inside a campaign can become really distorted," said Brian Jones, a Republican strategist and veteran of the Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush campaigns. "Campaigns destined for defeat find ways to believe there's still a chance and campaigns headed for victory can be overly nervous."

It's the last debate of the 2020 election.

Many might be saying, "Thank goodness," given what a mess that first debate turned into.

After that debate — and the way President Trump in particular conducted himself — Trump took a hit in the polls. This final debate represents the last, best chance for the president, who has been consistently behind in this race, to gain some momentum.

More than $1 billion has now been spent on TV ads for the 2020 presidential election in just 13 states, an NPR analysis of the latest ad spending data from the tracking firm Advertising Analytics finds.

Most of that money has been spent by Democrat Joe Biden's campaign and groups supporting him. Biden and allies have spent more than $600 million, while President Trump's campaign and groups supporting him have spent a little over $400 million.

Vice President Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris square off in the first and only vice presidential debate Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET in Salt Lake City.

Pence has laid low with President Trump undergoing treatment for the coronavirus, a threat the president had downplayed for months. But Pence is going to need to show up in a big way to try to inject some needed positive energy into the Trump-Pence presidential campaign, which has been consistently lagging Biden-Harris in the polls.

This was maybe the worst presidential debate in American history.

If this was supposed to be a boxing match, it instead turned into President Trump jumping on the ropes, refusing to come down, the referee trying to coax him off, and Joe Biden standing in the middle of the ring with his gloves on and a confused look on his face.

Trump doesn't play by anyone's rules, even those he's agreed to beforehand. He's prided himself on that. But even by his standards, what Trump did Tuesday night crossed many lines.

President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden square off in the first of three general-election presidential debates Tuesday night.

The debate is high stakes and carries risks for both candidates.

Here are six questions ahead of the debate, to be moderated by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace beginning at 9 p.m. ET and held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

1. Can Trump avoid the sitting-president first-debate slump?

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It looks, for now, like President Trump has bounced back a little after bottoming out.

The president was at a low point against former Vice President Joe Biden, but in the past month, even though Biden still has an edge, the landscape has tightened some, according to the latest NPR Electoral College analysis.

Well, the 2020 national political conventions are over.

The Republicans wrapped up Thursday night, and there was a lot to digest, not least a clearer sense of what the post-Labor Day sprint is going to look and sound like.

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Follow live coverage of the RNC all week at NPR.org/conventions.

The first night of the Republican National Convention was a little scattershot. It seemed to be partially about counter-programming the Democratic National Convention last week, partially intended to fire up the base and partially aimed at winning back some of those 2016 Trump voters who are having second thoughts.

Since the Democrats wrapped up their glitch-free virtual convention, now it's Republicans' turn.

Democrats have to be very happy with what they were able to accomplish this week with their convention.

Their production of the first all-virtual convention went off mostly without a hitch. At times, the last night seemed like whiplash with a serious segment on faith and forgiveness followed by snark from emcee Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for example.

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Updated at 11:19 a.m. ET

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday night in its first completely virtual, made-for-TV incarnation. It was unlike any convention night seen in years past. The most glaring difference: the absence of delegates and an audience.

That presented hurdles that the party tried to vault with a highly produced event that felt, at times, like a political infomercial mixed with a bit of "We Are The World" — and included one standout speech from former first lady Michelle Obama.

The Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday night and will take place from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET each evening through Thursday, when it will end with the official selection of former Vice President Joe Biden to be the Democratic nominee.

This convention will look and feel different from past years because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic event was supposed to take place in person in Milwaukee before the coronavirus hit, but now it's going to take place all virtually and be a big TV production with speakers and guests located across the country.

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Democrat Joe Biden's lead has expanded to double-digits against President Trump in the presidential election, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds. Biden now leads Trump 53% to 42%, up from an 8-point advantage at the end of June.

The change comes as 71% of Americans now see the coronavirus as a real threat, up significantly over the last several months, as more than 167,000 Americans have died and more than 5 million have become infected with the virus, as of Friday.

Joe Biden picked California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate.

It's a historic pick. But there's a lot more to it than that.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Biden picking Harris is a statement on what it means to be American.

Biden picking Harris as his running mate is historic. No Black or South Asian American woman has ever been on a major-party ticket in U.S. history. Black voters, especially Black women, are pillars of the Democratic Party and were key to Biden's victory in the contest for the nomination.

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Joe Biden has made his biggest decision so far as his party's presumptive nominee. He has chosen his running mate - Sen. Kamala Harris of California. She was Biden's former competitor for the top of the ticket. Joining us now is NPR's Domenico Montanaro.

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