Every election season the yard signs start popping up on street corners, fundraising requests fly over social media, and mail carriers stuff flyers claiming “I’ll stand up for you” or “You can’t trust my opponent” into mailboxes. After the 2016 Presidential election it is no surprise that people are tuning out of politics in general, having been barraged with negativity, outright lies, and disrespect for the election process for the past four years. A simmering toxicity now bubbles close to the surface between friends, family and neighbors who once simply agreed to disagree on policy. In the workplace, at dinner tables, and in town halls, people struggle to come to terms with understanding the root cause of this chasm between people they once held close to their heart.

This political cynicism breeds apathetic voters. When it happens, a small number of voters ends up with a power greater than deserved. When less than 20% of people vote in the primaries, they are allowed to choose extreme candidates who may have received large donations or are tied to an industry that may benefit from their election. Just look at the case of Bob Rucho, who has stepped back in the game and is running in a primary in Iredell County against 3 other Republicans. An extremist like him will win, if turnout is low.

North Carolinians can’t afford another Rucho term. Why? In his earlier term he co-chaired the Senate Finance Committee and led the Redistricting Committee – the one that has cost North Carolinians over $50 million in taxpayer funds as their gerrymandering efforts have been proven unconstitutional time and time again in court. A loss in the primary would keep him out of the Senate during a time when redistricting challenges are more important than ever.

As election season approaches, we need to take a good hard look at the underlying issues at stake, how we got to this point, and what lies ahead for our future after November 7th, 2018. It all starts with a vote in the primaries on May 8th, 2018.

This year, your vote (or lack of vote) will either:

  • Give us expanded access to the polls or restrict our rights to vote.
  • Arm our teachers with a respectable wage, fully funded budgets and safe schools or arm them with weapons to kill and scare our children, and strip their public school funding away.
  • Expand access to healthcare for those in need or send someone to bankruptcy as they suffer and stay ill because they don’t have access to the same Medicaid other states provide.
  • Ensure we have a safe, clean environment with pure water to drink and air to breathe or protect the industries polluting our only source of sustainability.
  • Provide women and minority groups a chance at equality, fair treatment and deserved respect or drive us backwards, perpetuating the myth that only older white men are suitable for the responsibilities of politics.
  • Ensure our three branches of government have co-equal powers and serve as a check and balance on each other as intended, or blur the lines that separate the powers, giving the Legislative branch free range to legislate themselves into power for generations to come.
  • Save our democracy or lead us into tyranny.

If you need more information about voting in the North Carolina primary, check out our post Five Easy Steps to Prep For Primary Day.