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From Benghazi to Ebola, a Long Road to the 2014 Elections

The news cycle has lurched from story to story in the run up to the 2013 midterms.
Image: File photo of the U.S. Capitol pictured behind a chain link fence in Washington
The U.S. Capitol is photographed behind a chain link fence prior to the government shutdown in Washington, in this September 30, 2013 file photo. Conservatives in the U.S. Congress are raising renewed objections to President Barack Obama's immigration policies and suggesting that a must-pass budget bill to keep the government running beyond September 30, 2014 could be the staging ground for challenging the Democratic president. Congress returns from its long summer recess on Sept. 8, hoping to sprint to another long break beginning around Sept. 19. That gives the House and Senate little time to agree on legislation temporarily funding federal agencies at the start of a new fiscal year on Oct. 1. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS SOCIETY IMMIGRATION)KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters

Remember the VA scandal? Bowe Bergdahl? The big to-do over Mitch McConnell’s easy primary win in Kentucky? The even bigger to-do about Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning loss in his primary?

Those events all took place less than six months ago. But it might seem longer than that, since the news cycle has since been dominated by the shootings in Ferguson, then Ebola, then ISIS, then Ebola.

While elections are ultimately decided by those who decide to make that little extra effort and cast a ballot on or before Election Day, the overall political environment has been a long time in the making. Voters’ general anger with the Obama administration this term may have gelled around the NSA scandal (broke June 2013), the IRS targeting story (broke May 2013), the problems with HealthCare.Gov (starting in October 2013), Obama’s handling of ISIS (starting August 2014) or Ebola (now), just to name a few. And similarly, big-picture frustration with Republicans in Congress over the past two years could be pegged back to the government shutdown (October 2013), the slow death of immigration reform (Fall 2013-Summer 2014), or the blocking of background-check legislation (April 2013).

Here’s a look back at some of the big national events that have shaped the last two years in politics:

January 21, 2013: Obama delivers second inaugural address

Jan. 23: Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on deadly Benghazi attacks

April 17: Filibuster blocks Senate background-check legislation

May 10: IRS acknowledges special scrutiny of Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status

June 5: First Edward Snowden NSA revelations appear in the Guardian newspaper

June 25: U.S. Supreme Court invalidates key parts of the Voting Rights Act

June 26: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act

June 27: Bipartisan comprehensive immigration legislation passes the Senate

Oct. 1 : Government shutdown begins, lasting until October 17

Oct. 1: Enrollment begins in health-care exchanges

Oct. 21: Obama addresses problems associated with HealthCare.Gov

Oct. 23: Der Spiegel reports German Chancellor Merkel’s “strong suspicion” of NSA tracking her phone


January 9, 2014: Chris Christie says he “knew nothing” and was “misled” by his staff about the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge

Jan. 17: Obama calls for significant changes in NSA data-collection methods

April 2: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down limits on total individual campaign contributions

April 10: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigns

April 17: Obama announces 8 million enrolled in health-care exchanges

May 6: Thom Tillis wins GOP Senate primary in North Carolina

May 20: Mitch McConnell wins GOP Senate primary in Kentucky

May 27: Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) becomes first congressional incumbent to lose a primary/runoff

May 30: Obama accepts Eric Shinseki’s resignation after scandal engulfs Veterans Department

May 31: Obama announces release of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity

June 10: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) loses GOP primary

June 24: Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) wins GOP runoff, despite finishing second in original primary

July 17:Surface-to-air missile destroys Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Eastern Ukraine

Aug. 5: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) wins GOP primary

Aug. 7: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wins GOP primary

Aug. 8: U.S. begins first airstrikes against ISIS – outside of Kurdish city of Erbil

Aug. 9: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) loses primary

Aug. 9: Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, is shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO

Aug. 19: ISIS releases video showing beheading of American journalist James Foley

Sept. 3: Democratic Senate nominee in Kansas, Chad Taylor, withdraws from race

Sept. 6: White House announces it will delay executive action on immigration until after the midterms

Sept. 10: Obama delivers primetime speech outlining U.S. strategy against ISIS

Sept. 22: U.S. launches first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria

Oct. 8: Thomas Eric Duncan dies of Ebola in Dallas, Texas