An enormous fund-raising haul in South Carolina, a stimulus stuck in limbo and a president claiming coronavirus immunity. It’s Monday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
Joe Biden held a distanced event in Erie, Pa., on Saturday.
Dispatch from Ohio: Unsurprised (and, sometimes, unbothered) by Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis
DELAWARE, Ohio — Here in this suburb of Columbus, supporters of the president aren’t surprised that he contracted the coronavirus.
But they aren’t particularly worried about it, either.
“I feel like at some point, in my opinion, everyone has either had it or is going to get it,” said Rachel Antonelli, as she walked through the historic downtown, not wearing a mask. “The president is obviously around a ton of people. So it’s no surprise that it happened.”
Pregnant with her second child, Antonelli, 35, described herself as “against the whole mask thing,” saying she believes the virus can travel through a mask, and finds it difficult to breathe while wearing one.
“I feel like you’re inhibiting yourself when you’re wearing the mask,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter how careful you are going to be. If you’re a person that’s going to get it, you’re going to get it.”
Like many suburbs, Delaware County is one of the areas that could determine whether Trump wins this perennial swing state. After Trump won the state by eight percentage points in 2016, many Democrats wondered whether they could find a path to victory in Ohio. Defeats in the midterm elections prompted some to write off the state almost entirely.
Yet recent polling has shown the Buckeye State, like other battlegrounds across the country, slipping away from the president. A poll released on Wednesday by The New York Times and Siena College showed the race in Ohio virtually tied.
Much of the dissatisfaction with Trump can be traced to the low marks voters give his handling of the coronavirus — for both the country and himself. A majority of voters in the poll, including about 20 percent of Trump’s supporters, said the president did not take adequate precautions to protect himself from the virus.
The lack of transparency from the White House over when the president first tested positive and about his current condition has created an atmosphere of uncertainty around his illness, prompting voters across the country to speculate wildly about his health.
In Delaware, Trump’s backers had an almost fatalistic take on the president’s illness but generally believed his infection was not serious.
“Walking around without a mask, it’s risky. This year, nobody’s above getting it,” said Karen Assini, 71, a retired pricing analyst who plans to vote for Trump for a second time this fall. “We all have free will. We all make our own choices.”
Democrats were also unsurprised by the president’s diagnosis, though they had a very different opinion of his behavior.
“It was the result that you would expect from the way he conducted himself,” said John Tanoury, a lawyer in Upper Arlington. “I don’t think he’s faking it, although I suppose you couldn’t rule it out.”
He quickly added, “I didn’t want him to die or anything like that.”
This item was part of a series of short Battleground Dispatches our reporters have been filing from swing states, offering an in-person snapshot of what it’s like to be on the ground in Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere. You can read all of the dispatches here.
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