Whether or not your candidate won on this election night, America’s electoral system was a winner. The remarkable energy and excitement that drove record crowds to vote in the primaries carried through to the general.

But the good news is not just that a large number of new voters, especially young people, seem to have shown up at the polls. It’s that so many people immersed themselves in the details—even minutiae—of politics this year. Fairly or not, we tend to think of the American electorate as an apathetic lot. No one’s thinking that right now.

I recall that back during the primaries, a campaign adviser told me how ordinary people she met wanted to discuss demographics, targeting strategies, get out the vote efforts. “They all sound like consultants now,” she said with amusement.

Of course, I love that they are becoming savvy about the art of campaigning—after all, that’s what our magazine is all about. But I’m happiest about the fact that politics matters so much to them.

Recently, MSNBC’s political director, Chuck Todd, told us that he went out on a limb by convincing his network to televise the Democratic Party’s internal debate over the rules governing superdelegates. It wound up drawing a far larger audience than even he expected.

And now, on Election Night, we’re seeing televised scenes of enormous excitement and intense disappointment—striking evidence of the passions that were on the line this year.

As someone who believes that politics matter, year in and year out, I can only hope that this heightened interest and involvement will last. That would be one of the greatest outcomes of this election cycle.

Bill Beaman is editor-in-chief at Politics magazine. wbeaman@politicsmagazine.com