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GOP expects big election wins; Biden's agenda falters. Here's a look at politics in 2022

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Not long ago, the the Republican Party was hitting bottom.

The GOP had lost the presidency and House in November 2020 and would soon squander its Senate majority early in 2021 — then watch with horror as supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol last Jan. 6.

What a difference a year makes.

A resurgent GOP is now poised to reclaim one or both congressional chambers in 2022, while retaining its lock on dozens of state legislatures and governor’s offices. Republican confidence is fueled by President Joe Biden’s underwhelming poll numbers, a Democratic economic and social agenda that’s faltering, intensifying concerns about inflation, and deepening frustration with the pandemic now unleashing yet another infection surge.

At its most basic level, though, GOP optimism is born of the same political headwinds that have shaped U.S. politics for decades. The party that controls the White House has a tremendous disadvantage in the first election of a new presidency.

“We’re going to have a hell of a year,” said Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who leads the national GOP’s Senate campaign arm.

Republican-controlled legislatures have aided the Republicans’ potential House fortunes by drawing new congressional districts that are even more favorable to the party.

Many Republican legislatures have also enacted laws making it more difficult to vote in response to Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. That’s expected to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning African Americans and Latinos.

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