1. Independents and major parties are responding to primary system in Arizona now that independents are the largest voting bloc.
"They long ago surpassed Democrats and this year they passed Republicans. But even then, longtime political strategists pooh-poohed their influence, correctly noting that the indys haven't chosen to flex their considerable muscle."
Now that independents are the majority in Arizona, major party leaders -- specifically Republican leaders -- want to close the primaries completely. Independents may participate in the partisan primary system, but they must request a ballot for the party of their choice. While independents are not completely excluded from the process, their choices are restricted to candidates of a single party.
2. Nashville Public Radio features a story on the increase in third-party lawsuits to gain ballot access.
"The Libertarian Party has sued state election officials in hopes of getting its candidate for governor listed as a Libertarian on November’s ballot. It’s one of several lawsuits that third parties have filed in recent years against Tennessee’s ballot access laws."
Not only are third parties suing to get on the ballot, but in some states major parties are suing to keep them off the ballot.
3. While national security and foreign policy have not been major issues on the congressional campaign trail, things may change as we get closer to November.
"Despite a whole host of places around the globe where security is a rising topic in the news — Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Russia — defense and foreign policy has largely been on the sidelines in congressional races. Even when it has been debated, it has usually been for other reasons, such as how it reflects on President Barack Obama’s performance. But because of that, and more, national security could still play a role in the 2014 elections."
These are major issues in the media, but they would play a bigger role on the campaign trail during a presidential election year. Congressional leaders may tout their own records on national security and foreign policy, or criticize opponents for taking certain stances in these issues, but voters will not see it become a major campaign point until the 2016 election year.
4. A former State Department aid says Congress and the president are not going far enough to protect the rights of all Americans when it comes to NSA data collection and surveillance programs.
"So in April, as Mr. Tye was leaving the State Department, he filed a whistle-blower complaint arguing that the N.S.A.'s practices abroad violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. He also met with staff members for the House and Senate intelligence committees. Last month, he went public with those concerns, which have attracted growing attention."
The president has spoken publicly about the need for reform and Congress is currently considering legislation that would make some changes, but the legislation being considered in Congress would do nothing about the NSA's programs abroad -- programs authorized by Executive Order 12333.