In a poor state like Florida, it seemed like a no-brainer for a
U.S. Senate candidate to back a plan so that “every man or woman
gainfully employed could pay for and get the health insurance they
He lost, his plan bashed as part of “the socialist state.”
Sound like the 2010 fight over Obamacare? Sure.
But this happened 60 years earlier in Florida in the Democratic
race between incumbent Claude Pepper and the man who tarred him as a
red, George Smathers, the Miami congressman who won the U.S. Senate that
Florida isn’t just a battleground state for presidential elections; it’s ground zero in the nation’s Obamacare wars.
It’s all about demographics. And geographics.
Retiree-heavy Florida has a surplus of voting seniors nervous about Obamacare’s changes. But Hispanics — the state’s least-insured but fastest-growing population — tend to support the Affordable Care Act.
The fourth-most populous in the nation, Florida is the most-diverse political swing state and has the nation’s second-highest rate of the uninsured, nearly 25 percent.
Active Democratic voters, who outnumber Republicans by more than 500,000, learned last year from President Obama’s campaign that the law can be a political plus — especially among Hispanics — after it was a millstone in 2010.
Republicans control the state power structure, and have fought Obamacare in court, with new laws, at the ballot box and on TV.