The Columns

W&L’s Mock Convention Predicts Trump Will Win GOP Nomination

— by on February 14th, 2016

The 2016 Washington and Lee University Mock Convention came to a close on Saturday, Feb. 13, predicting that Donald J. Trump will win the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

The prediction, a result of years of research conducted by 56 student state and territory chairs, five regional chairs, and two national analysts, followed a lively roll call, during which each delegation indicated the allocation of its votes.

The final tally was Donald J. Trump: 1320, Ted Cruz: 652, Marco Rubio: 399, Jeb Bush: 72, John Kasich: 19, Rand Paul: 3, Ben Carson: 5, Carly Fiorina: 1, Mike Huckabee: 1

Trump accepted the nomination via telephone shortly after the prediction was announced. “I’ve been hearing about for many years, and I know your track record is extraordinary, better than anyone else’s,” he said. “This is such a great honor.”

The students’ track record of accuracy—they have been correct in their predictions 19 times out of 25—is a reflection of their organized and thorough research efforts. State and territory delegations are charged with conducting extensive research to predict the eventual nomination of a candidate. The delegations work in conjunction with national and regional specialists using the most up-to-date poll numbers and political analyses. Students work closely with some of the most influential political operatives in every state to get the most accurate information possible.

Along with the prediction, Mock Convention attempts to create the most realistic convention atmosphere possible. The students followed the Republican Party’s rules for its upcoming national convention in Cleveland, and created a meticulously researched mock platform that predicts what the students think the Republican Party will focus on during the presidential campaign.

Mock Convention kicked off in Lexington on Thursday evening, Feb. 11, with a debate on “The Ethics of Citizenship,” sponsored by W&L’s Mudd Center for Ethics. Students participated in the Delegates’ Parade through downtown Lexington on Friday morning before the convention was called to order.

The convention itself was divided into four sessions, with prominent speakers at each session, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), former Republican National Convention Chairman Ed Gillespie, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, and others.

In his keynote address on Friday night, Cheney congratulated W&L on its reputation as an accurate predictor of presidential nominees. “I’ve been in politics long enough to know this: If you want to see where a presidential election is headed, the place to be is the Washington and Lee Mock Convention.”

General Chair Andrew McCaffery ’16, who has spent the last three and a half years involved with the effort, noted the significance of Mock Con for the student body. “Mock Convention is an opportunity for us, the students of Washington and Lee, to learn what we might not learn in any University classroom, and to show others that we do care about citizenship and the electoral process.”