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Jonathan Bernstein

The Most Surprising Thing About the Midterms

After years of casting doubt on election results, Republicans have reacted fairly rationally so far to a worse-than-expected showing.

A remarkably uneventful Election Day.

A remarkably uneventful Election Day.

Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images 

The best thing about the 2022 midterm elections so far is how utterly normal everything has been. 

There were no significant disruptions at polling places. If there was voter intimidation on Election Day, it was small-scale enough that it barely registered. There was nothing like the widespread, organized operations by extremist groups as many feared. Losing Republican candidates conceded their races as the losing candidates in democracies normally do. I’m sure there are plenty of conspiracy theories out there about why Republicans overall did worse than they expected, but they don’t seem to have made the leap into the mouths of party politicians or partisan media that reaches most voters.