By Mark Bauer
Spoiler alert: Matthew McConaughey may or may not be running for Texas governor. The Austin-based actor and University of Texas professor has long-teased the prospect of mounting a gubernatorial bid for 2022, but has so far maintained silence on whether that would actually happen.
Two prominent actors have successfully segued from the silver screen to the governor’s mansion in California. With as many Californians defecting to Texas lately, is it any wonder that McConaughey would want to turn that same trick in the Lone Star State?
You might be tempted to roll your eyes at the prospect. But McConaughey cares deeply about his home state, and a reading of his memoir Greenlights demonstrates that the actor doesn’t float idly from different stations in life. He’s civic minded—teaching at his alma mater the University of Texas since 2015. And he can give one heck of a motivational speech. Even Senator Ted Cruz said that McConaughey would be a formidable candidate. But if the actor were to turn his sights on a political career, would he merely act as a spoiler for Republicans trying to maintain their foothold on the state?
Texans are familiar with spoils. One example routinely raised about how third-party and independent bids spoil elections includes another famous Texan—Ross Perot. Critics claim the business magnate, who ran as an Independent in the 1992 presidential election, handed the presidency to Bill Clinton who was running to unseat George Bush. Clinton edged out Bush by a mere 5 million votes. Had Perot not garnered a sizable 20 million votes from the electorate, pundits say Bush would have secured a second term.
But how would a three-way race in Texas go? In a hypothetical matchup against incumbent Greg Abbott, polls showed McCounaughey actually edging out the Republican governor. In that same poll, respondents said they were more likely to vote for Abbott over Beto O’Rourke, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon. In this three-way hypothetical, it’s possible McConaughey wouldn’t play the spoiler at all; he might actually have what it takes to win the whole kit and caboodle.
Still, it’d be refreshing to put the whole “spoiler” conversation to bed once and for all by making it obsolete. The people of Texas deserve to vote for candidates who really excite them; they deserve the opportunity to express as much pride in their political leaders as they do their Whataburgers and Bucc-ees.
Getting ranked choice voting on ballots in the state would do just that. Ranked choice voting would give Texans a stronger voice: First, by ensuring that strong candidates like McConaughey wouldn’t sit out of races for fear of being a longshot or spoiling an election. Second, voters who feel like their vote would count are more likely to turnout to elections in the first place.
Texans have a long history of doing things their way. Maybe it’s time we apply that same can-do, independent spirit to getting ranked choice voting implemented in the state.
Mark Bauer is a producer, entrepreneur, day trader and former Independent candidate for Congress in Texas. Previously he spent 10 years as a legal journalist covering the legal market in Texas and regulatory issues in Washington DC. Mark’s primary interests involve using content and storytelling to help different groups of people better understand one another.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Rank the Vote, its members, supporters, funders, or affiliates.