By Mark Bauer
It might be Halloween season, but what comes after is truly frightful: Election Day, when more and more Americans describe elections as having to choose between the lesser of two evils. It’s like going to buy Halloween candy at the store and the only options presented to you are Candy Corn and Tootsie Rolls. While each sweet morsel may have a big fan base, it might not be the preferred candidate—er, candy—for the majority of people.
We aren’t Jamie Lee Curtis trying to take down Michael Myers every four years, so why do we subject ourselves to this horror?
There are a myriad of contributing factors, but one of the biggest is the electoral system itself. Primaries and the two-party system stifle political competition, resulting in candidates that diverge from the median voter on a number of topics. As Americans grow more divided on hot button issues, politicians begin to play to the extremes of their bases with fear-mongering about what might happen if the other side were to win. So in the candy scenario, Tootsie Rolls may edge out Candy Corn in a theoretical voting scenario of 60 votes to 40, but it’s not that we really *want* Tootsie Rolls as much as we just really *don’t want* Candy Corn.
If we really value our representative democracy, perhaps we should opt for a system like Ranked Choice Voting that would allow us to consider a wide array of candidates who are more likely to represent our interests.
In the meantime, if you’re still undecided about what candy to buy, consider splurging for the variety pack. Dump it in a bowl and those Trick-or-Treaters won’t be shy about letting you know which they like the best.
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.
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.