Mara Liasson

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Democrats are breathing a big sigh of relief today about the midterm elections.

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Donald Trump and his party are gearing up for a hard-fought midterm election. But the president loves to campaign and has already started to raise lots of money and hold lots of big rallies for Republicans.

It's part of a larger playbook that his advisers think can keep the GOP in power this fall, and they think so far it's on track despite the president's tendency to go off script on Twitter or during political speeches.

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Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief after last night's primaries. Here's President Trump at the White House this morning.

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After the demise of yet another Trump administration nomination, it's worth taking a look at lessons learned. So far, the president has tried to blame Democrats as "obstructionists" for White House physician Ronny Jackson's downfall and described Jackson on Friday as an "American hero."

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Today, the White House physician was supposed to answer questions from Congress about why he is the right guy to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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The Republican Party is dealing with a scramble for leadership at a very critical time.

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Also listening to this conversation NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hey there, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi there, Audie.

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The 2018 election cycle has officially begun, with the first primaries being held in Texas on Tuesday.

In every campaign cycle, analysts look at the fundamentals — the political laws of gravity that, in the past, have influenced elections. In 2016, Donald Trump seemed to defy a lot of these laws, and Republicans are hoping they can do the same this year to prevent the hit that the party in power usually takes in a president's first midterm elections.

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Lawmakers in Washington and Tallahassee have discussed a lot of ideas to reduce school shootings, but on the hardest questions — like what to do about guns — there is just no clear consensus.

There are few signs of clarity from President Trump, who has taken a leading role in the debate without providing strong direction to solve the problem.

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In two different power centers yesterday, students, teachers and families from Parkland, Fla., confronted their representatives.

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It has been more than a week since the first reports emerged about alleged domestic abuse by White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter denied the allegations but resigned a day later, last Wednesday. Yet, the scandal over his departure has not waned.

He was consistently at President Trump's side, charged with handling the flow of paper to the president, including sensitive information, while holding an interim security clearance. It's still not clear exactly which top White House officials knew what and when about the allegations against Porter.

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