By Mark Bauer

It’s been a while since I was able to cast a vote for a politician I was truly excited about, someone who I felt reflected my values. Part of that is because some of the issues I care the most deeply about, and issues that I think are important to most Americans, get overlooked for whatever divisive topic is dominating the cable news cycle. 

Our elections have become so encumbered by win-at-all-costs campaign strategies that we’ve lost sight of why we have representative government at all: To solve real-world problems that get in the way of our human flourishing! And on the rare chance solutions are actually developed, there’s a good chance you won’t hear about it unless it has to do with a presidential election or the midterms.

Jon Stewart made this observation back in October in an interview with Jake Tapper. Part of why I’m just now seeing this is because I’ve tended to avoid the news because the cost (rising anxiety) doesn’t outweigh the purported benefit (staying informed). 

“That’s our journalism, right man? How many times have you seen stories about the battle over masks. The Karen yelling in the store and the people throwing them out. And how many stories have we seen over the efficacy of masks, or the why?” Stewart says. “There are some—but the overwhelming majority of stories seek to expose the conflict lines.”

We can debate whether journalism is upstream or downstream from politics. But it’s certainly emblematic of our politically polarizing times and the gridlock our parties are engaged in. One offramp out of this crazy-making traffic is electoral reform, specifically ranked choice voting.

In places that have utilized ranked choice voting, polarization has gone down while collaboration has gone up. It reduces the power that the extreme wings of the respective parties have over the rest of the electorate, meaning that instead of preaching to the choir so to speak, politicians seeking election must expand their tent to appeal to a much wider audience.

So, as I’m reflecting on the year and looking ahead to 2022—another midterm election season—I’m less excited about the political players and more excited about the hard work being done to promote electoral reform across the country.If that’s something you can get excited about, consider  joining us or donating to help expand our efforts in the coming year.


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.