Mara Liasson

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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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Today marks one week since former White House aide Rob Porter announced his resignation after allegations of domestic violence came out against him.

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