The first day of the Biden-Harris ticket kicked off like many Biden events this year: late. It’s Thursday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
The two members of the Democratic ticket made their first appearance together yesterday in Wilmington, Del.
Will big-time college football cancellations cause a political backlash?
CENTER OF THE WORLD, Ohio — As he stood outside a Dollar General store, loading groceries into his pickup, Dennis Kuchta pondered what it will mean not to have an Ohio State football season this fall because of the coronavirus.
“It’s a huge loss, and I don’t think people realize that yet,” he said.
With a pillar of autumn Saturdays now missing, Kuchta and others in this football-mad corner of the state were looking for someone to blame.
“Trump just blew it,” Kuchta said. “He just didn’t handle it. He could have shut things down for five or six weeks and figured out what he was doing, but he never had a plan.”
That points to a big potential problem for Trump, whose re-election efforts may well hinge on an earlier-than-expected return to normalcy across America — a feeling that will be much harder to achieve after the recent cancellation of big-time college football across the Midwest and the West.
In crucial battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where college football serves as an autumn religion, losing football may be a political stain that the president is unable to blame on his enemies in the Democratic Party or on the media.
“As great as politics is — it’s a sport that so many people enjoy watching — it’s not as important as college football in Ohio, in Georgia, in Alabama,” said Paul Finebaum, who hosts a nationally syndicated college football radio show for ESPN. “And without it, people will be lost and people will be angry. There are layers of blame to go around, and in the end, this transcends sports.”
Finebaum predicted that the loss of the college football season would damage Trump even among his most faithful supporters.
“I’ve always tried desperately to keep politics out of our program, and this summer I’ve failed miserably,” he said. “We don’t have a day that doesn’t pass where someone doesn’t call up and blame the president. Even from the South, I’ve heard more anger directed at the president than I thought.”