In Tuesday’s elections, voters rejected recreational marijuana, transgender rights, and illegal-immigrant sanctuaries; they reacted equivocally to gun-control arguments; and they handed a surprise victory to a Republican gubernatorial candidate who emphasized his opposition to gay marriage.

Democrats have become increasingly assertive in taking liberal social positions in recent years, believing that they enjoy majority support and even seeking to turn abortion and gay rights into electoral wedges against Republicans. But Tuesday’s results—and the broader trend of recent elections that have been generally disastrous for Democrats not named Barack Obama—call that view into question. Indeed, they suggest that the left has misread the electorate’s enthusiasm for social change, inviting a backlash from mainstream voters invested in the status quo.