Election countdown: Expert gives update on national race with nine weeks to go

Election countdown: Expert gives update on national race with nine weeks to go

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – WMBF News' political expert and Coastal Carolina University's associate dean and professor of politics, Holley Tankersley, said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's "disappearance" could come down to a couple factors.

One, Republican nominee Donald Trump is providing plenty of opportunities for the media.

"He's always doing or saying something that's a little outlandish or not in the norm of a presidential candidate," Tankersley said.

One such quote focused on the issue of immigration.

"So we're going to stop the drugs, we're going to get rid of the bad ones and we're going to build a wall," Trump said. "And you need the wall to stop the drugs."

Tankersley said it could be that Clinton knows she has been leading in recent polls and it could be a campaign strategy to shy away from attention she does not need, choosing instead to focus on smaller campaign venues and events this past week that were not open to the press.

However, she is now switching up despite her not-so-golden relationship with the media in the past.

"Welcome to our big plane; it's so exciting," Clinton said to a group of reporters.

Tankersley mentioned she did not have a good relationship with the press during her husband's campaign.

"And in fact, just now for Labor Day, the post-Labor Day campaign period, which is the real kind of meat of the election, she is now letting press, the press corps, travel with her on her plane," Tankersley said.

Bridging that gap between the press and her campaign is exactly what Tankersley said Clinton needs to do right now.

While Trump also invited a smaller group of reporters aboard his plane, Tankersley said he is struggling to shake what has happened in his recent immigration policy efforts and rallies in Mexico and Arizona.

Clinton criticized Trump, saying that he not only messed up his first international engagement, but "he choked."

"For those here illegal today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for re-entry," Trump said in Arizona.

Tankersley advised Trump should leave the issue alone, as he will not win any more votes discussing it.

"He can only lose people he had already gained with his original position on immigration," she said.

Polls show Trump and Clinton are fairly close right now, but there are other options to consider.

"So there are two things to look at here," Tankersley said. "One is whether or not a minor party candidate, whether it's the libertarian candidate or the green party candidate, has enough polling strength to get on the debate state. And what's interesting - it's a polling that's come out in the last few days - is that in some states, the presence of Johnson on the ballot is hurting Donald Trump and in other states it's hurting Hillary Clinton."

While Tankersley does not seem to think it is possible for a minor party to affect the race for the White House much, it is certainly something to watch closely.

This week, both Trump and Clinton will be talking policy when it comes to helping out veterans.

Those breakdowns will come in week eight.

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