One Acre, One Vote

Physics of Shadow and Light
3 min readSep 24, 2020

Where Florida Snowbirds and a small number of Wisconsin residents voted made all the difference in 2016.

When Hurricane Irma threatened my friends in Florida I want to help. I installed the Zello app and monitored the emergency channel in what would be the dark hours of the night in the Eastern Timezone. Somehow Hurricane Irma threaded the needle through the sawgrass of the Everglades and beautiful cypress swamps of North Central Florida. I was thankful that the big cities and places where my friends lived were spared a direct hit. But the app was still installed when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and I suddenly cared about people and a place where I had few connections.

I listened and learned too much about President Trump’s mismanagement of hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. He obsessed over the kneeling protest of one man while 3000+ Americans died, many who had honorably served our country as veterans.

I was sleepless in Ireland trying to figure out if a deep-cycle 12 volt battery would keep a child alive on a ventilator until morning. Around midnight Irish time, someone donated a door-sized solar panel, despite Trump’s 30% Solar Photovoltaic tariffs. I wanted to hug this person. Here I was in Ireland with muy poco español and I cared not because I knew them or even because they were U.S. citizens but because they are human. If the president had been a little less racist, he might have suspended the punitive Jones Act tariffs on Puerto Rico for more than a few days in a disaster that lingered for more than a year. If he hadn’t considered Puerto Rico yet another blue state s*hole full of people he looks down on, he might not have made deadly mistakes that were tragically repeated on a national scale with Covid-19.

Donald Trump only won Wisconsin by 22,748 votes. Another 112,911 Clinton votes in Florida would have given her an electoral college victory of 266–265.

A total of 135,661 voters in these two states, only 0.04% of the U.S. population, with wealthy old white males over-represented made all the difference. This is not because of who they are or how they voted but because of where they voted. The electoral college isn’t one person one vote, it’s more like one acre, one vote.

If 1/20th of Hillary’s 2.8 million citizen popular vote win had been in Wisconsin and Florida instead of other states or if 135,661 Trump voters in these states had been resident and registered to vote in any other state, Donald Trump would be busy building Trump tower Moscow and his embargo-defying Havana Golf resort instead of dismantling our national park system, our democracy, the rule of law and distracting all of us while a deadly virus took 200,000+ American lives.

If even a few refugees from Puerto Rico are angry enough at President Trump’s treatment, wise enough to not be fooled by a transparent bribe posing as too-little-too-late disaster relief and inspired enough to help friends and family with Florida’s monolingual voter registration, Florida could help put our country back on the road to recovery. We would be grateful.

Maybe I’ll never be able to return to Florida, but if Donald Trump is re-elected it all but assures that my children and grandchildren will never be able to live there. I’m doing this for them and for the decent Americans this president has dishonored.



Physics of Shadow and Light

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