“We have but one rule - that every student must be a gentleman.”
— Robert E. Lee
Mock Convention 2020

Mock Convention 2020

From John Harashinski, the Political Chair of the 27th Mock Convention

With Joe Biden declaring his candidacy last Thursday, the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary field has made history for the greatest number of candidates in a presidential primary, ever. While Democratic officials and voters scramble to figure out their favorite candidate in this tightly contested primary, the 27thWashington and Lee Mock Convention will be paying close attention. Even though Convention weekend and the actual Democratic National Convention are quite a ways away, the students at W&L have been hard at work ensuring that this Mock Convention is going to be memorable, engaging, and most of all, accurate.

In our mission to correctly distribute all 4,765 delegates of the Democratic National Committee, the political arm of Mock Convention has over 80 undergraduate student analysts who are ready to consume every piece of news media, polling reports, FEC filing sheets, and endorsement letters needed to uphold the legacy of precision for which Mock Convention is known for. Out of the 26conventions thus far, the students at Washington and Lee have called 20 correctly and have only been wrong twice since 1948. That being said, we are the nation’s most accurate Mock Convention and thus are up to the task to evaluate this very-heated Democratic primary season.

 Within the Political Team, I have decided to revamp our predictive strategy to meet these challenges. The new Trident Strategyfocuses on three distinctive measures to ensure that we can capture what we need in order to deliver a correct prediction. The Trident Strategy consists of three prongs, the first being the National Approach, where myself and two other political analysts look at the national stage to determine national sentiment and the overall campaign strategy of each candidate. The second prong is the Local Approach, which focuses on utilizing the research and networking skills of our 7 Regional Chairs and 57 State Chairs to acquire on-the-ground knowledge of how candidates are faring in certain states, without us having to physically be there. Finally, the third and final part of the Trident Strategy is the new Metadata Approach, where a team of computer science majors at W&L are building a comprehensive database to capture the quantitative data we need to make an accurate prediction in today’s tech savvy world. By combining these three approaches—and qualitative and quantitative data—we seek to come to one consensus and one correct nominee in February of 2020. It is a long road ahead, but we have the tools and motivation necessary to cut through the noise and get it right.

Mock Convention may be renowned for its political accuracy, but for the students here on campus it’s the excitement, spirit, and grandeur of the event itself which makes it such an incredible aspect of a Washington and Lee education. With 95% of the student body participating in some fashion (98% if you include faculty and staff), Mock Convention is the most participated event on campus and we as the leadership team are excited to ensure that this tradition of student involvement continues, which is best reflected in our mission statement: 

Unite to Predict. By bringing together different aspects of campus, The Williams School and the College; students from the United States and countries abroad; and current students and alumni, we seek to ensure that Mock Convention is a hallmark of our educational experience, both in our accuracy and in student involvement. At the end of the day, a prediction is just that—a prediction. Yet, it will be the community at large which will make Mock Convention a memorable experience, and a fond memory of our college careers.

 To help support Mock Convention or to learn more, please check out our website, www.mockconvention.com. And be sure to stay up to date with everything regarding the convention through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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