US Virgin Islands Caucuses Preview

Nah, just kidding. Could you imagine?

I actually did my very best to find information on the caucuses, but not only could I not find any polling for them, I couldn’t even find out what time they were. I’m guessing 6 or 7 pm?

Instead, here are ten fun facts about the United States Virgin Islands:

  1. What are they? Three large Caribbean islands — Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas — and about 50 smaller ones. The USVI are not to be confused with the British Virgin Islands, which include the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, AnegadaJost Van Dyke, and about 50 smaller ones of their own. If you think I knew any of this before I looked it up, you’ve yet again overestimated me.
  2. Early history: Like the rest of the Americas, the USVI were populated by Native Americans before Europeans arrived and treated the place like The Who treats hotel rooms. The process started extremely early here, with Columbus finding the island in 1493. Within a century the local tribes were extinct. Remember that next time you complain about your iPhone battery.
  3. Later history: The region has been a hackey sack, and Western imperialists the feet. Parts of the USVI have been held by Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Britain, and France. Transaction processes include clean purchases, bloody wars, and, I can only assume, rock-scissors-paper. I assume the inhabitants of the islands really love that they don’t get a say in who occupies them, but I can’t know for sure because no one ever asked.
  4. US history: The United States acquired the islands from Denmark on March 31, 1917, a day the territory celebrates with the unsurprisingly muted “Transfer Day.” The cost was 25 million dollars in… gold coins?? Who led Denmark’s negotiating team — Scrooge McDuck?
  5. Climate: You would hate to live there. The average high in the summer is 90, the average low in the winter is 72. The record low was a frigid November day — 52 degrees. All of a sudden being traded between Western encroachers doesn’t sound so bad.
  6. Government: Since it’s a part of the United States, surely the USVI are dripping in freedom and democracy, right? Wrong! These American citizens don’t get a vote in Congress or the general election for president. The USVI does have some local control, electing a governor every four years and 15 local senators to a unicameral legislature. They’ve tried writing a Constitution five times, but it’s never worked out, including the most recent attempt in 2009 when their Fifth Constitution Convention failed due to the U.S. Congress saying, “Cute, but no.”
  7. Economy: Your honeymoon.
  8. Demographics: It’s three-quarters black and only 15 percent white. During Europe’s Age of Discovery, the righteous white people of Europe killed off the annoying red people of the Caribbean and replaced them with the hard-working black people from Africa to grow the white people’s favorite white crop — sugar. (It’s okay, I’m half-Brazilian, I can say these things.) As bad as the American southern colonies were for importing slavery, it’s worth mentioning that only about a half million African slaves imported to the Americas ended up in the 13 American colonies. A plurality — 4.5 million — were sent to the Caribbean. As a result, Africans became the dominant ethnic group throughout the West Indies. Oh, did I mention the region is also called the West Indies because Columbus thought he was in India, which was on the other side of the planet? He was awesome.
  9. I’m really running out of things to say about the United States Virgin Islands.
  10. Anyway, they vote today for nine delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Democrats will vote for seven on June 4. (The Democrats also have five unbound superdelegates from the USVI, so it sends almost as many superdelegates as delegates the voters get to pick. Classic US Virgin Islands.)

Go Rubio/Kasich/Cruz! Every delegate counts in our quest for a contested convention!



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