MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – As Decision 2016 gets closer, WMBF News is sitting down with a political expert to start the countdown to Election Day.
In 10 weeks, Americans will be hitting the polls to choose the next president of the United States. Every Tuesday from now until the big day, WMBF News will be breaking down the latest from the race for the White House with the station's political expert and Coastal Carolina University's own associate dean and professor, Holley Tankersley, to provide all the information needed to make an informed decision in November.
When it comes with Republican candidate Donald Trump, there has been criticism from those in his own party, some of it coming from right here in the Palmetto State from individuals like Sen. Lindsay Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley.
WMBF News Anchor Lisa Gresci: "Have we seen any changes from him over the past couple of weeks, you know, since the Republican National Convention, that you've really taken note of, like, oh, maybe he really is trying, or trying something different between him and his campaign?"
Holley Tankersley: "Well, I certainly think the reshuffling of the campaign staff was an attempt to change the trajectory of the candidacy that has worked in some ways. He's been a little more disciplined in his speeches and in others it has not. The tweeting is still a problem in many ways. He will often say things via Twitter that he later tries to retract or correct. So the campaign reshuffling was interesting. I think what we are seeing now, with the attempt to reframe his position on immigration, and I think what we all remember is that this was his original campaign issue when he first declared he was going to run for the Republican nomination. He is trying now to reframe that position, giving a major speech in Arizona on this issue but he's kind of done so clumsily over the last few days but he will have to sharpen that up quite a bit if he doesn't want to alienate any more constituents."
Gresci: "And let's talk about Hillary Clinton a little bit. There's still so much controversy surrounding how many emails she's released, how many she's deleted. Where do you think that's going to go from here? Do you think that conversation will continue to heighten or maybe fall off a little bit?"
Tankersley: "Right, so despite the fact that she's polling pretty far ahead of Mr. Trump, Sec. Clinton clearly has been hurt by this issue. And the longer that it stays in the news cycle, the worse it will be for her. Now she is still out preforming him in polls, which suggests she may have room to grow a little bit and may be able to distance herself, certainly in solidly blue states but maybe in a few swing states. But the longer this sticks around the more damaging it is to her."
Knowing the challenges each candidate faces now, Tankersley said the true test could be through the three face-to-face debates happening soon.
"It really requires the ability to think on your feet and be able to make statements without contradicting yourself in that moment, or contradicting something you said weeks ago," she said.
Gresci: "So here we are, week 10. Is there anything voters can really start looking at trying to find within each candidate to say, 'OK, that's who I'm going to vote for 10 weeks from now?"
Tankersley: "Well, beyond policy positions, right beyond what they say they are going to do on policy. I think there are leadership and qualities that Americans tend to look for - confidence, the ability to clearly analyze problems and propose solutions - and I think the No. 1 thing is communication. How well does this person connect with the American public? That doesn't mean they have to connect on some kind of emotional level, although that's helpful. As a candidate, that means they have to clearly communicate their points of view and clearly communicate the type of president they would be."