By Mark Bauer

I’ve noticed a trend this Halloween, and maybe you have too, and it’s that so many more homes seem to be decorated for the frightful holiday than in year’s past. My theory is that people are so tired from the last two years of COVID that they’re looking for any excuse to participate in something that will bring them the slightest bit of joy.

It’s not just COVID that has us beatdown, though. It’s the increasingly polarized political discourse that I find most frightful, especially leading up to another round of elections in November.

How bad has it gotten, exactly? People are more willing to marry someone of a different religious belief than they are a person with differing political opinions to the point that now a mere 21 percent of marriages are politically mixed. 

This political divide is having real-world consequences on the American legislature, too. Look no further than how far apart Democrats and Republican lawmakers are on a spending bill, which recently dropped paid family leave in an attempt to make some progress toward a consensus. Meanwhile, is anything being done to combat climate change?

Our inability to work together toward common good solutions is slowly grinding America’s legislative-making body to a halt. Justin Amash said in a Tweet this week that “Congress is gradually moving toward having only one bill per year, with everything stuffed into it, negotiated by just a few congressional leaders, completely behind closed doors, with no floor amendments permitted,” he said. “We’re largely already there.”

But if there’s one “treat,” if you will, among all these “tricks,” it’s that one simple change exists that can help break this political rancor: Ranked choice voting. It achieves this by breaking up the political duopoly by making third-party candidates more viable, thereby changing the incentives for how politicians govern and campaign. 

If we can get more people on board with this electoral reform, then the Halloween yard decor might go back to being what scares me the most about this time of year.

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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.