By Mark Bauer
The first day of fall this week brought a welcome change in temperatures. Most of us likely don’t have an aversion to this kind of change: It’s a part of the rhythms of life we’re accustomed to. Unless of course you’re experiencing something new—like parents with young kids going off to school for the first time. That kind of change would present new logistical as well as emotional challenges to overcome and navigate.
Humans are generally opposed to change for a variety of reasons, foremost is probably the uncertainty associated with it. Podcaster and author Timothy Ferris says that “people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
So that’s our starting point when trying to understand why people have such a strong reaction to democratic reforms like ranked choice voting. It’s actually in our nature to eschew change. Neuroscience says that our brains are hardwired for routine and consistency. And any change in our environment or our processes disrupts those neural shortcuts our brain has worked so hard to create.
Change literally requires us to think differently, and that can feel threatening. And when it comes to big changes to stuff like our democratic process, we should be deliberative about weighing the pros and cons and examining all variables.
While it might look to the casual observer like ranked choice voting is an overnight success, it isn’t a new idea, so we aren’t starting from scratch. And this modern wave of interest has decades-long support. Still, many Americans are only recently becoming familiar with it and their adoption of it might take some getting used to. That’s OK.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a documentary before her death that lasting societal change is incremental.
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time,” she said.
So, for those proponents of ranked choice voting who might get frustrated at the pace of adoption–try to have some patience for those who are just now coming around to the idea.
And if you’re someone only recently learning about ranked choice voting and have reservations, it might be worth it to explore ranked choice voting to get a better idea for how it works, and then do a deeper dive within yourself to gauge where the trepidation is coming from.
In the meantime, get out and enjoy the cooler weather before it changes over to winter!
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.