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. Her reporting is wide-ranging, with particular focuses on gender politics, demographics, and economic policy.

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.

The economy is in good shape, but some people say we could be heading towards a downturn. A number of recession indicators are beginning to flicker, such as a flattened yield curve, strong demand for treasuries and wild swings in the stock market.

The U.S. economy has some very particular tools to deal with recessions, but Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics says the usual monetary and fiscal medicine may not be as effective this time around.

If a great book is a sumptuous meal, the campaign book is a bottle of Soylent.

A novel by Nabokov, a play by Shakespeare, even a pulpy airport crime novel — these satisfy the basic urge to read a story with beginning, middle and end; to watch characters interact and to understand their complex motivations. These stories are there for the joy of consumption.

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One hundred twenty-seven. That's how many women will be in Congress this year, up from 110 in the previous Congress.

It's a jump that's simultaneously so big and so small.

Ashley Nickloes is a busy woman. She's working toward her master's degree. She has four living children (she specified that a fifth died after a preterm birth). And when I caught her, she was in St. Louis, doing simulator training for her role as a pilot in the Air National Guard.

"You know, you can only be busy a hundred percent of the time," she laughed. "You get enough sleep when you're dead."

On top of all that, she also ran for Congress in Tennessee last year, but lost in the primary.

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When Bernie Sanders went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert a week ago, he took a victory lap for his agenda.

Democrat Lucy McBath narrowly flipped Georgia's 6th Congressional District this year, winning it by two percentage points.

Jon Ossoff knows better than most how big of a victory that is. He also knows it will be a battle for Democrats to hold this suburban Atlanta seat.

In her new book, Becoming, former first lady Michelle Obama writes about the profound frustration of being misunderstood — of being pegged as an "angry black woman." She writes about the discomfort of being a hyperaccomplished woman only recognized through her connection to a powerful man. She writes about the power in telling one's own story, on one's own terms.

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Note: NPR will be updating these numbers as more results come in.

Updated at 10:44 a.m. ET Thursday

After Tuesday's elections, a record number of women will serve in Congress come January 2019.

With results still coming in, 98 women have won their House races as of early Wednesday morning, up from the current 84. In addition, at least 13 women won Senate seats. That's in addition to the 10 female senators who were not up for re-election this year.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET Thursday

With women making up only 20 percent of Congress, there are many types of women — especially women of color — who have never been represented on Capitol Hill. The record-breaking wave of female candidates in 2018 comes with a list of firsts among those women. Here's a list of some of those firsts, which we will keep updating as results come in.

Democratic non-incumbent women are more than two-and-a-half times as likely as Republican non-incumbent women to be in House races where their chances are toss-up or better. That's according to an NPR analysis of candidate data from Daily Kos and race ratings from Cook Political Report.

A record number of women ran for and were nominated for office this year — that's true among House, Senate, state legislature and governor candidates — and the overwhelming majority of them have been Democrats.

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Especially as the midterm elections approach, there's an unavoidable stream of news about politics in crisis: words like "polarization" and "tribalism" paint a portrait of voters retreating intransigently to their respective corners (or, more accurately, social media bubbles).

A new poll gives a clearer picture of what that "tribalism" looks like: Americans differ not just on their ideology or political team, but on the issues they view as problems.

Pew presented registered voters with 18 issues, asking those voters how big of a problem each issue is.

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Rural Americans are profoundly worried about the opioid crisis and their local economies and many are hoping government can help, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Democrat Amy McGrath is running heavily on her military record in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District. In her announcement video, she tells the story of how, as a girl, she was told that women couldn't fly in combat — and how that fired her up to eventually do just that.

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Months ago, I was asked to review Rebecca Traister's Good And Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger.

"What timing," I thought, as I read the book while red-robed handmaidens protested Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings.

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A day of drama and history on Capitol Hill today. To talk it through, we want to bring in NPR political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben. Hey, Danielle.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Hello.

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Lauren Underwood, Democratic House candidate in Illinois' 14th district, is part of a record boom of women running for office in 2018 – from Congress to governorships to state legislatures across the country.

But she didn't just wake up one day and decide this was the year.

Editor's note: NPR is examining the role of women in the 2018 midterm elections all week. To follow upcoming coverage and look back at how the role of women in the 2014 midterms was covered, click here.

Women represent 20 percent of Congress members right now, and Republicans and Democrats differ sharply on why that's the case, not to mention how big of a problem that is.

That in and of itself is perhaps unsurprising, especially at a time when the parties are heavily divided on a wide variety of topics. But a new poll shows that men and women within each party — and especially among Republicans — differ heavily on several of these questions.

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In October of 2013, the federal government shut down for 16 days — the third longest shutdown in history. A few women in particular came together to end the gridlock, including Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

With Tuesday's primaries, women have hit another milestone in this record-breaking political year, setting a new record for the number of women who have secured a major party nomination for the U.S. House.

Democrats and Republicans have nominated 185 women to run for the House in November, as of Wednesday morning, according to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

The figure breaks the prior record of 167 nominees set in 2016.

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