We wait anxiously for the release of fundraising records, and watch endless press conferences. We make calls to folks in Ames and Anchorage, Concord and Coral Gables, and every place in between. Tuesday is always the most important day of our week. Our work is part of one of the most ambitious political research projects in the country: The Washington and Lee University Mock Convention. Our goal: to accurately predict who the party out of power in the White House will nominate to run for President of the United States. Our efforts culminate in a simulated presidential nominating convention featuring some of the most dynamic and influential speakers in politics today. We've been in business since Taft was in the White House, and our record of accuracy is unparalleled: in the last sixteen election cycles, we've accurately predicted the nominee fourteen times. As the Republicans gear up for a dramatic 2016 campaign, we're preparing for what is sure to be one the most exciting Convention Cycles in recent memory. Join us as, for the twenty-sixth time, we prepare to celebrate the all-American drama of our democratic process.
Since our founding in 1908, Mock Convention has been driven by the hard work and creativity of Washington and Lee students. The centerpiece of our efforts is a two year, hands-on political research project. Students representing each of the 56 states and territories that send delegates to the national convention are responsible for predicting the distribution of delegates from the areas they represent. Through the most accurate available polling data and contacts with local reporters, officeholders, and party officials, they develop an understanding of how local conditions can shape national outcomes. Student leaders on the Executive and Steering Committees are responsible for coordinating all Mock Convention activity, from event planning and media outreach to an intensive budgeting and fundraising effort. By Convention Weekend, more than 95% of Washington and Lee students will have had some role in making Mock Convention a success.
From social gatherings and policy forums to the events of Convention Weekend, a series of unique political experiences offer members of the Washington and Lee community, the public, and the media to share in our process and hear from some of the most dynamic voices in politics. Past Spring Kickoff and Convention speakers have included former and future Presidents Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. In 2012, students heard from Republican Strategist Karl Rove, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Congressman Eric Cantor, former presidential candidate, Ambassador to China, and Utah Governor John Huntsman, among many others. In settings that capture the excitement and drama of election season, we offer the chance to experience the race for the White House in an engaging and impactful way, through direct interaction with officeholders, speeches, debates, exhibits, and the convention proceedings themselves.
At a time when many feel frustrated and disconnected from the political process, Mock Convention offers an opportunity to rediscover what makes our system of government great: the enthusiastic engagement and active participation of the electorate. Through our research and the experiences that research yields, we become more knowledgeable and appreciative of our roles and responsibilities as American voters. Through our collaboration with professionals and other students, we better define who we are and where we are going in our academic careers and thereafter.
Mock Convention is an enduring rebuttal to the suggestion that young people are disengaged and distracted in our fast-paced and ever-changing world.
History and tradition are the foundation of the Mock Convention experience. Explore the photographs below to discover the history of this one-of-a-kind political undertaking.
This fall, Regional and State Chairs will be hired along with other positions integral to Mock Convention's research project.
The official start of convention festivities, Spring Kickoff is a weekend of student and faculty panels, food and band parties, and featured speakers.
Presidential Gala captures the spirit of a high power Washington D.C. gathering, and builds excitement for the approaching convention festivities.
Convention Weekend is the centerpiece of Mock Convention: 4 sessions with a total of 15+ speakers, the Delegate's Parade, the 26th prediction, and nightly festivities.