Problematic data points are emerging in the ‘Republican wave’ narrative.

While this is by no means evidence that the election will defy expectations and swing wildly to Democrats, it does suggest that tonight’s election-results punditry should prepare themselves for the possibility that they will need to define a Republican failure. What happens if the voters turn out to be less dissonant and confused than expected, and the party fails to meet their expectations?

If Republicans fail to win control of the Senate, does that constitute a repudiation of their extremism and intransigence? Or must we contend with a modified version of the same narrative in which any Republican gain is held as a sign of the electorate’s supposed rightward swing?

If Democrats win races they were supposed to lose, might that be considered evidence that tea party politics are incredibly unpopular? Or will we have to listen to Chuck Todd opine that the electorate is “still center-right”?

I will update this post if further data points show up during the day.

UPDATE: Mark Begich appears to be winning the early vote in Alaska thanks to heavy participation by Native Americans