Chances are that you have been confused by supporters of Question 5 when they tried to explain ranked-choice voting to you.

Maybe they did it by getting you to rate different beers, ice cream flavors or your favorite Beatle, and then lost you with a rundown of the ballot counting rules. (“If no one wins a majority in the first round, Ringo is eliminated and his second-place votes are allocated to Paul, George and John.”)

But rather than clarify things, the explanations have contributed to the notion that this is a complicated system that would be hard to understand and easy to game.

So, even though there is no organized opposition to Question 5, it’s the only one of the five referendum questions that is below 50 percent in the polls, and it could go down to defeat on the strength of the “vote yes” arguments alone.

But it’s not that complicated. Let me boil it down for you.

Paul LePage.

The governor is a two-time winner in multi-candidate races where a fired-up base is all you need to win. If you like where that has landed us, by all means cozy up to him and vote “no” on Question 5.

But if you want the LePage era to be a weird, unrepresentative chapter in our history – like the time Joshua Chamberlain had to defend the State House from Republican insurgents – you should vote “yes.”

Paul LePage. It’s that simple. You’re welcome.

Well, maybe not quite that simple. Is Paul LePage really what’s wrong with Maine? No, he is not.

But he is what you can expect to get if you don’t fix what’s wrong with Maine. The real problem, here and most places, is polarization. Ranked-choice voting is one way to bring people together when politics are driving them apart.

This is a big state, and you don’t see the same problems everywhere. Rural towns are losing jobs, suburban towns can’t control property taxes and in Portland, our homeless shelters and soup kitchens are overflowing. These communities all need the state to address multiple problems all at once, balancing the needs and interests of different groups that don’t always line up.

We have a system to handle all those conflicts. It’s why we send so many representatives from every corner of the state to Augusta. We expect them to work things out.

But LePage sees his role differently. He breaks records for vetoes. He sits on voter-approved bonds. He refuses to fill open jobs in his administration – he won’t even hire a commissioner of education – simply because he wants to mess with the Legislature.

He has the ability to stop things from happening, but he ends up looking like a pitiful giant when he tries to advance a piece of policy – like his 2015 tax reform failure – even when his own party controls a body of the Legislature.

In office, LePage is stubborn, combative and single-minded, just like he was on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, what made him a good candidate makes him a lousy governor.

LePage exposes that we have a system where the minority rules when there are more than two candidates in a race. Candidates and the people who work for them understand this, and they run the races accordingly.

The whole game is about identifying your voters and turning them out. In 2014, independent Eliot Cutler and Democrat Mike Michaud campaigned against each other, contrasting their very similar positions on health care, energy and LGBT rights because they were competing for the same voters. Meanwhile, Gov. LePage talked only to his base.

Cutler and Michaud were not interested in those voters, and their supporters spent months arguing over whether Cutler was a “spoiler” who would hand the race to LePage.

You would have seen a very different campaign, and maybe a different result, if Michaud and Cutler supporters could have ranked their choices and put their process questions aside.

Introducing statewide ranked-choice voting would be a big change, but our politics have been changing all on their own, and meanwhile, the system stays the same.

For a long time, only dedicated partisans have voted in primaries. Candidates with access to money can call themselves independents and run campaigns that are just as strong as those of party nominees. The winner in a multi-candidate race doesn’t have to appeal to much more than a third of the electorate.

None of that is going away. You can complain that ranked-choice voting is too complicated, but you also have to accept the simple truth. We can’t keep the same system and expect better results.

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