Brett Neely

In odd-numbered years, Election Day consists of a hodgepodge of state, local and special elections.

But in an era when, to flip an old phrase, all politics is national, these low-profile, low-turnout elections might have a lot more to say about the direction of the country than may have been the case just a few years ago.

Two governors races and one president in the background

When West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice stood next to President Trump during a campaign rally in Huntington, W.Va., on Thursday to announce that he was switching parties and becoming a Republican, it was a historic moment for the GOP.

Kid Rock, the singer whose career has spanned rap, hard rock and country music, is fueling the speculation that he intends to announce a bid for the U.S. Senate next year to challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. That is unless it's all a publicity stunt.

In the first special congressional election since President Trump took office, a Republican candidate won a narrower-than-expected victory in a district Trump easily carried less than six months ago.

Members of Congress.
U.S. Congress

The Republican health care bill under consideration in the House of Representatives would change health coverage for a lot of people. It would no longer require that Americans buy health insurance, for instance, and it would eliminate current subsidies, replacing them with a fixed refundable tax credit. To help Americans understand where Congress stands on the debate over this legislation, NPR and Member stations around the country have compiled a database of Congressional members’ positions on the bill.

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A day after shocking the political and foreign policy establishments on both sides of the aisle with a call for Russia to hack into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email, Republican nominee Donald Trump now says he was being "sarcastic."

Less than 24 hours earlier, Trump said he would welcome Russian hackers releasing any emails they could "find" from the private email server Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.

Less than 12 hours after he was booed for not endorsing GOP nominee Donald Trump during his late-night speech before the Republican National Convention, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wasn't backing down.

At an emotional event with the Texas RNC delegation Thursday morning, Cruz defended his decision to withhold his endorsement at a time when Republicans are trying to rally around their nominee ahead of the general election.

After repeatedly denying that elements of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama were used in Melania Trump's address on the first night of the Republican National Convention, an employee of the Trump Organization took responsibility for the flap on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by the Trump campaign, staff writer Meredith McIver accepted responsibility for the addition of Michelle Obama's words in the speech.

This election year may well go down as the conspiracy-theory election, thanks to Donald Trump's ceaseless efforts to inject unsubstantiated plots into the American political debate.

A day after de facto Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said "there's nothing to learn" from making his tax returns public before this November's elections, the billionaire is taking heat from the party's 2012 nominee over that stance.

After Bernie Sanders lost four of the five presidential primaries Tuesday night, the Democratic hopeful's campaign is laying off many staffers.

Noting that 80 percent of the nominating contests have been completed, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement that "we no longer require many of the loyal and dedicated state and national support staffers who helped us."

It appears that the attacks on presidential candidate Donald Trump's business record seem to have touched a nerve.

Despite three more primary and caucus victories on Tuesday, Trump eschewed a traditional victory speech, adding in a press conference — and something else: a table piled high with a veritable Trump-ucopia of Trump-branded products.

"I have very successful companies," the New York billionaire told reporters at the event at Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, in Jupiter, Fla., as raw steaks, bottles of wine and vodka, and magazines stood near the man himself.

The most recent Republican presidential nominee is taking shots at Donald Trump's fitness to be president.

And he's not mincing his words.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, called the current GOP front-runner "a phony, a fraud" in a speech Thursday morning in Salt Lake City. And he didn't stop there.

After taking fire from all sides of the political spectrum for not condemning an endorsement from a white supremacist leader, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blamed the incident on a "very bad earpiece" used in a cable news interview.