A surprisingly nuanced verdict in the midterm elections has delivered at least one important conclusion about the state of the national mood: In battleground states and swing districts across the country, voters voiced their support for moderation.
That happened in Nevada’s Senate race, where Catherine Cortez Masto, an unassuming incumbent Democrat occupying one of the party’s most endangered seats, overcame voters’ economic fears and won re-election, highlighting her Republican opponent’s embrace of former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and his denigration of abortion rights.
It happened in Pennsylvania, where the Democrat Josh Shapiro, facing the far-right Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, won the governor’s office in the biggest landslide for a non-incumbent in the state since 1946.
And it happened on Sunday, when Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a liberal Democrat in Oregon who beat a veteran centrist House Democrat in the primary, Representative Kurt Schrader, lost the seat for her party to the G.O.P., a stinging blow to the Democrats’ chances of holding their majority.
In contests up and down the ballot, Republicans betting on a red wave instead received a sweeping rebuke from Americans who, for all the qualms polls show they have about Democratic governance, made clear they believe that the G.O.P. has become unacceptably extreme.
On a smaller scale, a similar dynamic could be discerned on the left: After Democratic primary voters chose more-progressive nominees over moderates in a handful of House races, including in Oregon, Texas and California, those left-leaning candidates were defeated or are at risk of losing seats that could have helped to preserve a narrow Democratic majority.
But the 2022 midterm was the third straight federal election in which the march of many Republican candidates into a morass of conspiracy theories and far-right policy positions had grave electoral consequences for the G.O.P.