This is the harsh reality: The most corrupt president in the history of the Republic likely will survive impeachment. Donald Trump and his comrades have succeeded in creating an alternate reality through endless lies, outright propaganda and Russian conspiracy theories spread by party legislators.

The impeachment hearings have established abuse of power, obstruction and more, but barring some explosive revelations the Republican Senate will surely acquit. And in Florida there is little we can do. We can’t count on Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio to do the right thing.

Instead, we Democrats should be focused on what we can change: The well-being of families and the results of 2020 election. Florida Democrats have the power to end the toxicity that has seeped out from the Oval Office to the state and local levels.

Across the country, the Party of Trump continues to undermine progress, threaten our voting and civil rights, imperil our environment, ignore climate change, eliminate health insurance to millions and demean women and people of color. In many cases, their dark policies push the boundaries of morality.

Evidence of these transgressions often fly under the radar as the nation is gripped by the impeachment hearings. And so, with that in mind, we will publish a regular series of columns calling attention to how the GOP is ferociously working against the best interests of Americans, especially here in Florida.


Medicaid expansion would have saved lives, according to landmark study

On Feb. 28, the editorial board of TCPalm published an editorial that deserves the attention of all Floridians: Then Gov. Rick Scott’s callous decision to reject Medicaid expansion funded by the federal government has resulted in thousands of needless deaths. The same holds true for the 16 other states led by Republican governors. The editorial reads:

VERO BEACH – People died in Florida because state officials — most notably, Gov. Rick Scott — refused to expand Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.

Such is the conclusion drawn from a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In states where Medicaid was expanded, the research estimated at least 19,000 lives were saved.

“The lifesaving impacts of Medicaid expansion are large: an estimated 39 to 64 percent reduction in annual mortality rates for older adults gaining coverage,” the study found.

But in states where Medicaid expansion was denied to low-income adults, lives were lost. In the Sunshine State, that amounted to nearly 2,800 deaths, the research found.”

To quote from the landmark study:

“This new evidence that thousands of lives are at stake should give states that have not yet expanded Medicaid one more reason to do so. It should also finally put to rest claims that Medicaid doesn’t provide quality coverage…”

If Scott had chosen to accept the Medicaid expansion, 800,000 additional Floridians would have had health insurance coverage. Ideology, however, drove he and other Republican governors to turn their backs on their constituents. Today, Baby Boomer are growing older, diseases such as diabetes will multiply and, unless we change course, the result will be all too predictable.

Let’s keep our focus on 2020 and the issues we espouse. We Democrats are not just in the fight of our lives, we’re fighting for the quality of life for millions. We have the power to change the ruinous path that Trump and his believers have put us on.

In 2016, Trump carried Florida by a margin of just over one percent. The 2018 races for governor and senate were similarly close, but again we came up short. If we can flip just one percent, we can bring put Florida in our column and block Trump’s path to re-election.


By Rich Leonard, Communications Committee

Richard Leonard resides in Vero Beach and is a retired executive editor and director of recruiting for the Gannett Co.