For now Republicans’ 2022 midterm election message could be summed up by an old slogan used in the 1990s by Democrats: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

GOP lawmakers in recent weeks have piled on the Biden administration for the chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, and argued it has failed to respond sufficiently to the continuing pandemic the president had vowed to get under control.

But with 14 months before the election, Republican lawmakers, campaign operatives and candidates say the leading issue is Biden’s economy.

While the U.S. economy itself is growing at a strong clip, prices are increasing at nearly their highest level in years.

President Biden, of course, isn’t on the ballot, but off-year elections are about sending a message to the party in power. And Republicans think polls showing that a majority of Americans now don’t approve of Biden’s handling of the economy will stick.

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