Why Primaries Matter

Michael Greer O'Shea
3 min readMay 17, 2022

Since I started running as a candidate it’s become a tradition to go vote with my mom. We went during early voting, but don’t worry — there’s still time for you to get that rush from doing your civic duty because it’s Election Day!

I don’t have a primary this year (look for me on the ballot for state house in November!), but I’m still really excited about the primary election.

In fact, I think primaries are actually the most exciting elections to vote in.

It might seem strange, but seriously! Why? Simple — this is when voters get to have a huge role in shaping their party.

Some of these primary races will be determined by just a few votes. You and a few friends showing up to the polls could actually change the course of an election and that has profound consequences for the future.

Some of these races have very different candidates running within the same party (we’re a big tent!), which means the outcomes of these races can drastically change what the party looks like over time.

Don’t like how the Democratic Party is operating? Guess what! You can change that. Really. By being engaged at the local level and supporting candidates you care about, we can change things from the bottom up. That’s what grassroots democracy is all about.

For example: you could be the one vote that pushes a great candidate over the edge to win their primary for a super local race like town council. That candidate then goes on to win in November and serves on council. That sets them up to be able to build up to winning a larger race. Rinse, repeat. Compound that over a decade and all of the sudden you’re watching that same amazing candidate who shares your values win a congressional seat and all from grassroots organizing. And that never would have happened if they didn’t win that first local party primary with your single vote.

So forget the national political news clickbait for a minute and focus on some local races where you can have a profound impact and help make a local party you really want to be a part of. Believe me, you can seriously change things in your neighborhood by showing up, getting involved, and voting.

Remember: if voting didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to suppress your right to do it.

In the long run, we build a better future by working day by day to build that future, not by spending our time and energy just reacting to what we don’t want. So please, don’t base your primary vote on fundraising numbers or cynical election calculus (which is about as reliable as the weather forecast in WNC).

Vote for something. Vote your values in the primary. Vote for authentic candidates who share those values.

I promise the seeds we sow with those intentions will reap the most bountiful harvest in years to come.

See you at the polls!

Michael Greer O'Shea

Running for NC House 117. Former candidate for Congress. 1st millennial on the NC-11 Dem Primary ballot. Music producer and Realtor with a Philosophy degree.