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Harper’s Weekly Review has a bang-up summary of elections around the world: “surprise” and “befuddlement” are the apt words:

French media expressed surprise at the success of a left alliance forged in the country’s snap election, after weeks of polling projecting that Marine Le Pen’s far-right, Euroskeptic party would take the most seats; British media expressed surprise at Keir Starmer’s victory, which arrived alongside the Labour Party’s biggest majority since 1997 and after 14 years of leadership under the Conservatives; Western media expressed surprise at the election of Masoud Pezeshkian, Iran’s first reformist president in two decades, and befuddlement at Tokyo’s gubernatorial race, populated by 56 candidates, some of which included: “the Joker,” who campaigned on legalizing marijuana and promoting polygamy to address the nation’s declining birthrate; a pro wrestler who hid his face on camera and pledged to deploy AI to carry out governmental responsibilities; a 96-year-old inventor who peddled carbon-free gas-fueled cars; and a 31-year-old entrepreneur whose campaign video featured her taking her shirt off and guaranteeing “fun things.”

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