Swedish voters on Sunday headed to the polls for parliamentary elections. Despite the inauspicious date—Sept. 11—and the mounting crises facing Europe, the election took place with little incident: There were no riots or violence, nor even signs of acute polarization.

There is always a temptation to fit electoral events into grander political narratives. Some outlets reported that the election was “Sweden's populist moment,” and that the rising fortunes of the right-wing Sweden Democrats signal a backlash against a “globalist political elite.” Others framed the election as an instance of the “far right” making huge gains in a previously stable and tolerant liberal democracy.

“The 2022 election was a stability election, not a populist one.”

Neither narrative is correct. In fact, the 2022 election was a stability election, not a populist one.

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