Post-South Carolina and Nevada Political Report

 The Political Department tabulates votes at Convention Weekend 2016.

The Political Department tabulates votes at Convention Weekend 2016.


Trump: 82 

Cruz: 17 

Rubio: 16 

Kasich: 6 

Carson: 4 

*Bush: 4 

*Paul: 1 

*Fiorina: 1 

*Huckabee: 1 

*Dropped out but delegate allocation rules differ by state—some of these delegates will remain allocated to these candidates, while others will be reallocated. 



Businessman Donald J. Trump has maintained his momentum, winning by large margins in both South Carolina and Nevada. Trump’s victories have elevated his campaign and substantiated our Political Team’s original prediction, while significant uncertainty surrounding the rest of the field remains to this day. As of today, Trump is outperforming our prediction by 134%. This margin will likely grow as the Super Tuesday states vote. 


The results of the South Carolina Primary indicate that Trump’s “ceiling” of support of approximately 1/3 of the Republican electorate may have been a premature estimate. The polling numbers were surprisingly accurate (1) in South Carolina and Trump continues to draw out Republican voters of all types—from evangelicals to voters disenfranchised with mainstream Republican politics. Trump dominated the field and defeated Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz by more than ten points, amassing all 50 of South Carolina’s congressional and state-wide delegates. The Super Tuesday states will be Trump’s proving ground; if he performs well, the path to the Republican nomination becomes far narrower for his rivals. 

Cruz must over-perform throughout the South and win his home state to maintain any chance of staying relevant and viable moving forward into states with demographics and delegate allocation rules that are unfavorable to him. Rubio rebounded from a poor performance in New Hampshire to secure second place in South Carolina. At a certain point, Rubio must do better than a strong second place to actually have a chance to overcome the lead that Trump has built through the first four states. Former Governor Jeb Bush’s early exit after a disappointing performance in South Carolina should propel Rubio forward to a certain extent, but Rubio must continue to pull new voters and convince the “establishment” politicians and voters that he can defeat Trump. 


Trump received 46% of votes, surpassing Rubio’s 24% and Cruz’s 21% by more than 20 points. Although the Nevada Caucuses are not necessarily indicative of the race as a whole, Trump victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada give him crucial momentum going into the more important Super Tuesday primaries. Rubio showed that he remains a strong candidate, but again, second place is not sufficient moving forward. Turnout was significantly higher than expected in all four early states, especially in Nevada, which highlights Trump’s influence throughout the country and demonstrates that the 2016 race, and Trump’s campaign, do not reflect historical trends. 


Bush dropped out of the race immediately after South Carolina due to a poor showing in the state and vocal dissatisfaction expressed by his major donors. This was earlier than expected and leaves his small, but still present voter group up for grabs. Perhaps more important is the direction in which his Super PAC Right to Rise will choose to spend its remaining war chest. With his recent streak of endorsements, Rubio has demonstrated an ability to garner more establishment Party support, but this has not necessarily translated to more votes on the state level. Governor John Kasich seems to be in the race for the long haul, despite low national support from voters, so he will continue to compete with Rubio for mainstream conservative support. Consolidation of so-called establishment has begun, but the effects have not yet been realized by either Rubio or Kasich. 


Trump won 34% of the evangelical vote to Cruz’s 26% in South Carolina (2), which has dangerous implications for Cruz in the long run. In Nevada, 40% of white evangelicals voted for Trump and for Cruz (3). If Cruz continues to lose the evangelical vote to Trump throughout the South, his campaign will be hard pressed to rebound after Super Tuesday. Since day one, Cruz has based his pathway to victory upon an incredible show of strength on Super Tuesday—something that increasingly appears unlikely (4). Continued evangelical support of Trump confirms that Trump’s support crosses ideological lines and is not primarily issue-driven. Cruz’s strong ground game and overall campaign in South Carolina did not help him overcome Rubio or close the gap between him and Trump. 


The endorsement primary has become more of a factor in recent weeks. Donald Trump has received several key endorsements from Governor Chris Christie (NJ), Governor Paul LePage (ME), Senator Jeff Sessions (AL) and four U.S. Representatives from across the country. 

Rubio maintains a significant lead in the so-called “Endorsement Primary,” but Trump’s ability to garner support from mainstream Republican politicians has just begun. In the five days following the Nevada Caucus, Trump has gone from zero national endorsements to seven. We may see endorsements continue to roll in over the coming weeks, which would serve to further validate Trump’s candidacy for voters and possibly for the Republican Party in general. 


Held in Texas, just days before the Nevada Caucus, a great deal of weight was placed upon the performances in this debate. However, as he typically does, Trump defied all conventional wisdom. Starting the week off with vicious attacks against both the Pope and former President George W. Bush, the media lampooned Trump for a “bad week.” He ended this “bad week” with sweeping victories in both South Carolina and Nevada. 

For the first time, Rubio went after Trump in the debate and had a strong showing. Rubio was  very much on the offensive—a position that has backfired on many other candidates who have tried it previously. It does not appear to have backfired on Rubio yet, and we will soon see if his attacks can translate to votes. 


Thirteen states, and one island territory, located primarily in the South vote today. The Super Tuesday stakes are incredibly high for the three front-runner candidates, and the stage is set for significant victories for our predicted nominee—Donald J. Trump. 

Super Tuesday will be even more important for each of the three leading candidates than previously anticipated. Without a doubt, Senator Cruz has the most to lose going into today’s contests. Cruz’s assumed base of support has always been the most conservative, white evangelical Christians of the South. For Cruz to lose this base would be an enormous blow; perhaps an insurmountable one. Texas is the state to watch today for Cruz. If he is unable to win his home state by a decently large margin, his campaign is likely finished. 

Senator Marco Rubio has the most to prove today. Finishing second in both the South Carolina and Nevada contests, Rubio is hoping to ride this momentum into Super Tuesday. Although not his target demographic, picking up a large portion of delegates in the South would serve to affirm Rubio’s status as a national candidate. He is in a good position to beat expectations and garner further support from establishment Republicans to further coalesce this critical group. 

Businessman Donald J. Trump is well poised to sweep the Super Tuesday states. After Super Tuesday, over 25% of the total delegates will have been allocated, and Trump will remain in the best position moving forward to secure the Republican nomination.


1. RCP Average as of 2/20/16

2. NYT 

3. NBC News Exit Polls 


And the 26th Mock Convention nominee is...

 Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

     The 26th Mock Convention has chosen Mr. Donald J. Trump as its anticipated candidate to win the Republican nomination in this year's presidential election. The complete voting breakdown was as follows:

Donald J. Trump: 1320

Ted Cruz: 652

Marco Rubio: 399

Jeb Bush: 72

John Kasich: 19

Ben Carson: 5

Rand Paul: 3

Carly Fiorina: 1

Mike Huckabee: 1

     The decision was announced Saturday afternoon during a lively session on the campus of Washington and Lee University. Nearly the entire student-body—as well as esteemed guests, alumni, faculty and staff—congregated inside of the school's ornately decorated gymnasium. Representatives from each of the delegations took turns announcing their state or territory's votes during the Roll Call portion of the afternoon.

     Mock Convention carries a legacy of sophistication, thoroughness and accuracy. Throughout the convention's 108-year history, Washington and Lee students have been correct in their predictions 19 times out of 25. They’ve been correct about the Republican Party since 1948. The research project is driven by 56 state and territory delegations comprising enthusiastic students who are charged with predicting the eventual nominee. On the delegation level, students work closely with some of the most influential political operatives in every state to get the most accurate information possible. The delegations are organized by region. Each region was overseen by a regional chair, all of whom made sure that the research was organized, thorough and up-to-date. A special thanks to the regional chairs for their diligence: Jake Barr, Northeast region; Caroline Bones, South region; Rachel Gallagher, West region; Mitchell Hamilton, Southwest region; and co-Midwest regional chairs, Matt Kinderman and Anna Milewski. The national analysts for Mock Convention—Kevin Ortiz, ’16, and Joe Kimbell, ’17—have studied national trends, polling and fundraising numbers, and information from political strategists to help them come to their ultimate predictions.

     Thank you for supporting the 26th Mock Convention, and for following along with the entire process. We cannot express enough how grateful we are to all of the students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff members who have put in so much time and effort in order to make sure that this convention was a success. It’s been quite a ride: we’ve worked hard, we’ve had fun, and most importantly, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our country along the way.

     It will be several months until the official nominee for the Republican Party is known. But if history can tell us anything, we may already know the correct answer.

Click here for our detailed prediction memo

Surveying the student body: what do your peers think about the GOP nominees?

With convention weekend just around the corner, we wanted to see how our peers are keeping up with the presidential race. Katie Monks ’18, Kevin Ortiz ’16, Rachel Adams-Heard ’16, and Jack Koch ’16 shared with us their predictions for the Republican nominee and what they really think about Donald Trump.

Q: How do you keep up with the presidential campaigns and election news?

Katie Monks: I keep up with both sides by reading the New York Times, getting Google alerts on the election, and also reading theSkimm every morning. I also watch most of the debates and check up on the election on Twitter. But mostly the New York Times and polling sites like RealClearPolitics. 

Rachel Adams-Heard: I keep up with the Republican presidential campaigns by watching the debates with my friends. I'm not particularly impressed with the way most of the debates have gone this year, but it's a little bit more enjoyable when you make an evening of it. It also helps to go into the debates with some background information on how the candidates have historically stood on issues or if they've voted a certain way before. Outside of the debates, I get morning email briefs from Quartz, Politico and theSkimm. I glance over those and then will look further into something if I find it particularly interesting. 

Jack Koch: I watch all of the debates but try to avoid the commentary before and after. I also follow most of the candidates on Twitter.

Q: Donald Trump still holds a solid lead over his top competitors. What is your opinion on his popularity?

KM: I think Donald Trump exploits voters’ ignorance and fears. His voter base is mostly white, uneducated, poor males in the south and he says what they want to say. What scares me more is the educated people that still support him. He also plays into the fact that a lot of people don't get how the political process works or why someone like him cannot become president. He also just gets insane amounts of screen time and press coverage because of the stupid things he says. Sorry, if you can't tell I hate Donald Trump. 

RAH: At first I wanted to dismiss Trump. I find it embarrassing that someone so ignorant could be enjoying so much success in our presidential election. But now, I'm actually concerned. He stands a real chance of winning the GOP nomination, and that's not just embarrassing...that's scary. 

Kevin Ortiz: Trump is tapping into a very real vein of anger directed at Washington by the GOP electorate. While he isn't generally considered a true conservative candidate (his policy preferences have changed dramatically during the presidential cycle), his style of bravado and "take-no-prisoners, don't-back-down" is a breath of fresh air for conservatives outside the beltway who perceive they are losing the United States they used to know to liberal Democrats in Washington.

Q: If you could ask a candidate one debate question, what would you ask?

KO: Donald Trump - What are you going to do when you inevitably don't get your way on an issue during a policy spat with Congress? You can't win ALL the time.

RAH: Issues like national security and gun control have taken center stage so far. I'm really interested in data collection, though, especially after the Edward Snowden revelations. I would ask how the candidates plan to scale back (or expand) the NSA's collection of data.

JK: I would ask Jeb Bush if he is still willing to pledge his support for the eventual Republican nominee.

 Q: Who do you predict will get the Republican nomination?

KM: I really don't know, and I really don't want to say Trump... but it could be him at this point. Scary!

RAH: I'm afraid someone like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is going to get the nomination. Maybe a miracle will happen and Jeb will make a comeback...I'm not counting on it, though. 

JK: Trump or Cruz

KO: That's the million-dollar question. Mock Convention, from state chairs to regional chairs to national analysts, is working vigilantly to study all available avenues of research to correctly predict the GOP presidential nominee.

Last, but not least!

Mock Convention is thrilled to announce three more distinguished speakers to round out our Convention Weekend slate.

Robert Ehrlich, Jr. is coming to Washington and Lee with an impressive and distinguished list of accomplishments.  In 2002, he was elected as Maryland’s first Republican Governor in 36 years.  Governor Ehrlich not only improved Maryland’s fiscal condition by turning a $4 billion inherited debt into $2.3 billion in surpluses, but he also helped to created 100,000 new private sector jobs, enacted policies that placed Maryland as a national leader in education biotechnology, and healthcare, and enabled more than 7,000 students to attend 30 new public charter schools.  He received national commendation for empowering individuals with disabilities, earning the “Highest Recognition Award” from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Prior to serving as Governor, Congressman Ehrlich won four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the House Majority Whip Team.  He also served in the Maryland House of Delegates.  Currently, Ehrlich is senior counsel in the Government Advocacy and Public Policy practice group at King & Spalding.  He and his wife Kendel have two children and are extremely active in numerous charities, most notably the Maryland Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mr. Garland S. Tucker III is the author of Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, from Jefferson to Reagan, which was released last year. He is also the author of The High Tide of American Conservatism: Davis, Coolidge, and the 1924 Election. In addition to writing his books, Tucker has contributed to other publications including the National Review and The Washington Times. He is the former CEO of Triangle Capital Corporation, and is a former member of the New York Stock Exchange. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and his MBA from the Harvard Business School. 

Lila Rose is the Founder and President of Live Action, a new media nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ending abortion.  When she was 15 years old, Rose created this group that utilizes investigative journalism to expose the abortion industry’s threats against vulnerable and defenseless patients.  Live Action hopes their discoveries will inspire the nation to take action to end abortion in the United States.

As President, Rose leads undercover investigations into some of America’s most notorious abortion facilities.  In addition to these investigations, Live Action runs stealth education programs, oversees the largest pro-life social media platform, and hosts Live Action News, a pro-life news site.

Rose is a known international public speaker and is a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and The Laura Ingraham Show.  Her work has been featured on several major news outlets, including CNN, the Washington Post, USA Today and Politico.  Rose has also been recognized among Red Alert’s “30 under 30”, Christianity Today’s “33 under 33” and among National Journal’s “25 Most Influential Washington Women Under 35”.

Student Run: a behind-the-scenes look into the work of the Speakers Committee

Did you get a chance to read over our list of distinguished Convention Weekend speakers? While Mock Convention is certainly proud of the list of speakers for this unforgettable weekend, we are proudest of our students for booking such an impressive line-up.

Yup, you read that right: students. 

Members of the Speakers Committee, all of whom are undergraduate students, worked tirelessly to brainstorm, research, network and eventually book the individuals who are headlining Convention Weekend. According to Charles Correll, a member of the Speakers Committee, there are many ways to secure a speaker: personal connection, connection to someone with a connection, speakers bureau, schedulers of elected officials and representatives of presidential campaigns. 

“Mock Convention is truly a student-run event and that meant utilizing perhaps our most unique resource: student initiative,” said Charles.  “Ultimately, our goal was to secure speakers by accurately [and] persuasively articulating why appearing at Mock Convention was in a speaker’s best interest.”

A great amount of thought was put into generating an initial list of distinguished speakers that would add the most to this Mock Convention session.  Each member of the committee then received an individual assignment of potential speakers to contact and weekly meetings were held as a chance to come together as a team to decide on speakers, solve problems, and refocus any efforts. 

“This process required a great deal of trust, personal responsibility and strong work-ethic in order to succeed, and perhaps one cannot help but doubt the ability of college students to juggle so many personal relationships and a full course load,” said Charles.  “Nevertheless, we found that this not only proved possible, but highly successful.”

We tip our hats to you, Speakers Committee, for the incredible effort you put into securing such an impressive and exciting list of Speakers. We are counting down the days to Convention Weekend and cannot wait for the festivities to begin. Three more days!

Mock Con Political Team's New Hampshire PRIMARY Prediction

Mock Convention’s New Hampshire Team Predicts Trump Win

Lexington, VA -- The 2016 Washington and Lee Mock Convention Political Team is predicting DONALD J. TRUMP to win the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, February 9, 2016. After his loss in Iowa, the pressure is on Trump to hold his double-digit polling lead in the Granite State and win the first in the nation primary. No candidate has gone on to win the nomination after losing in both Iowa and New Hampshire since 1970. We expect it to be a close race, with Trump edging out Rubio by a few points, followed closely by Kasich, Cruz, Bush, Christie, Fiorina, Carson, and Gilmore, respectively. 

New Hampshire receives 23 delegates, 3 of which are unbound who vote for the candidate of their choice at the convention, and the other 20 are bound according to the results of the proportional primary. For a candidate to receive delegates, he or she must garner at least 10% of the statewide vote. Beyond that, his or her delegate count is determined by proportioning his or her share of the statewide vote to the 20 delegates. All remaining delegates are then awarded to the candidate with the most votes in the state. The primary is considered a “mixed primary,” with voting open to only registered party members and registered independents. 

We expect Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Jim Gilmore to not reach the 10% threshold necessary to receive delegates in the state. Christie has spent the most time in New Hampshire with 72 days, has virtually visited every corner of the state, and has received the most individual endorsements of all the candidates, including one from State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and the endorsement of the Union Leader, the leading conservative paper in the state. However, despite his strong ground game and solid performance in Saturday night’s debate, we expect him to receive about 9% of the vote, just short of the 10% minimum threshold. Christie’s surge in the polls in the late summer plateaued after the rise of Rubio and Kasich’s popularity in the state. Fiorina, despite being very well liked by "establishment" figures throughout the state, is only expected to receive about 4% of the statewide vote. Carson, who has not spent much time in the Granite State, is expected to only garner about 2% of the popular vote, with Gilmore behind him at less than a percent. 

Jeb Bush is expected to come in 5th in the state, receiving 2 delegates. Bush has maintained a strong ground game throughout the state, but has seen his efforts diminished by other surging "establishment" figures such as Kasich and Rubio. Bush has spent roughly 52 days in the state, many of which were concentrated in the center of the state where the more moderate Republicans tend to live. Bush has received 12 key endorsements in the state, including Judd Gregg, the former Senator and Governor of New Hampshire, as well as Chuck Morse, the president of the State Senate. However, Jeb has failed to connect with the establishment voters to the extent his opponents John Kasich and Marco Rubio have. 

Ted Cruz, fresh off his win in Iowa, is expected to win 4th place in the state, capturing 3 delegates. Cruz’s support in the state has been relatively stable, with a majority of his support coming from evangelicals. Cruz is endorsed by 8 key figures, including Jane Cormier who serves as president of New Hampshire Right to Life. Cruz polls very well among religious voters, particularly along the border with Massachusetts, which tends to be one of the more conservative parts of the state. Cruz is expected to use his momentum from his win in the caucuses to carry him to 4th place. 

John Kasich is expected to take 3rd place in the state, earning him 3 delegates and finishing behind Rubio by a slim margin. Kasich has spent nearly 71 days in the state, and has had one of the strongest and most effective ground games out of all the candidates. Kasich has led all others in newspaper endorsements, winning the support of the Keene Sentinel, Portsmouth Herald, New York Times, and Boston Globe. Kasich has also received the endorsement of 12 key state figures, including US Representative Charlie Bass and State House of Representatives Majority Leader Jack Flanagan. Kasich has visited every part of the state and has held a wide variety of events, ranging from small home get-togethers to huge rallies. Kasich has seen his support continue to surge throughout the state on account of his commitment to campaigning in the area and experience as both an executive and legislator, capturing a lot of the "establishment" votes that would otherwise go to Christie, Bush, or Rubio. Kasich is expected to lose to Rubio by only a few percentage points. 

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is expected to win 2nd place and capture 4 delegates, barely edging out Kasich and coming a few points short of Trump. After his strong performance in Iowa, Rubio is capitalizing on his role as the "establishment" candidate and alternative to Cruz and Trump. Despite only spending 28 days in the Granite State, Rubio and his Super PACs have flooded the networks with ads on his behalf. Rubio has racked up 10 key endorsements in the state, including Jim Merrill, who ran Romney’s New Hampshire campaigns in both 2008 and 2012. Despite his surge in the state, Rubio has hit recent troubles following his poor performance in the Saturday debate and onslaught of attacks from other establishment candidates. Both Christie and Bush have relentlessly attacked Rubio on the radio and TV, with Christie publicly calling out Rubio for his inexperience and inauthenticity in the last debate. That being said, many in the state view him as the clear "establishment" option and best alternative to Trump and Cruz. 

Donald Trump is expected to win the State of New Hampshire, capturing 5 delegates for his share of the vote along with the leftover 3 from those who fail to reach the 10 percent threshold, bringing him to a total of 8 delegates. Trump has led the polls in the state since announcing his candidacy in mid-June. New Hampshire, sticking true to its “Live Free or Die” roots, has a tendency to support anti-government outsiders. For many, Trump is the clear choice for all those tired of traditional politicians. Trump polls exceedingly well in the conservative southern parts of the state and to the far north where people are pro-gun and anti-government. Hindering Trump is his lack of intimacy in the state. Trump has only spent 27 days there and tends to hold huge rallies over small and personal events, something that the people of New Hampshire value. Following his 2nd place finish in Iowa, Trump has seen his polling drop while the more "establishment" figures have narrowed the gap by attacking him for lack of substance and lack of experience. While many polls still have Trump with a double-digit lead, the pressure is on for Trump as Rubio and Kasich are right on his heels. 

With nearly 30 percent of voters undecided and a recent poor debate performance from Rubio, New Hampshire will have a compelling finish among the top candidates. The road to the White House considerably narrows after the Granite State. Statistics historically show that a win in the New Hampshire increases the odds of winning the nomination by nearly 27 percent; a strong or weak showing for each candidate will have major effects heading in to Convention Weekend 2016. 

Thanks to the Mock Convention Political Team and New Hampshire State Chair Conor Ridlon for their hard work on this prediction.

Mock Con Debate: February 11, 2016

Mark you calendars for a debate between two distinguished visitors, hosted by Washington & Lee's Mock Convention in conjunction with the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. The debate will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on February 11th. The debate is free and open to the public, and audience members are encouraged to arrive early to get seats. Doors to the event open at 4:15 p.m. 

The debaters are William Galston and Peter Wehner, both of whom are experts in their fields.

Mr. Galston is a former policy advisor to President Bill Clinton and presidential candidates Walter Mondale and Al Gore. His areas of expertise include domestic policy, political campaigns and elections.  He has written eight books and over 100 articles, most of which pertain to political theory, public policy and American politics. He has appeared on numerous major television networks, and is a regular contributor to NPR. Mr. Galston also writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. 

Mr. Wehner has written two books, and has contributed articles and columns to numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Financial Times, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, National Affairs, Christianity Today and Time magazine. He was made a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times in 2015, and he also regularly writes for Commentary magazine's blog, "Contentions." Mr. Wehner has made appearances on Fox News, MSNBC, C-Span and CNN. He served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations before becoming the deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. He was also a senior advisor for the Romney-Ryan campaign in 2012. 


Post-Iowa Political Report

On Monday, the 2016 GOP presidential primary season formally began when Iowa voters caucused to select their choice for the nomination. With 100% of precincts reporting, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the caucuses with 27.6% of the vote, enough to earn him 8 delegates to the RNC in Cleveland. Poll-frontrunner Donald Trump, who Mock Convention predicted would win the Hawkeye state, came in second with 24.3% of the vote and 7 delegates while Senator Marco Rubio of Florida came in a close third with 23.1% of the vote and 7 delegates. The Iowa caucuses were a clear win for both Cruz and Rubio as both exceeded expectations. Indeed, Rubio’s close third-place finish nearly surpassed Trump, giving the Florida senator clear momentum as he tries to cement his place as the “establishment” candidate going into New Hampshire. Despite leading in the polls heading into Monday, Trump failed to deliver the big victory he promised.

Mock Convention predicted Trump would emerge the popular vote winner from Iowa and be tied with Cruz at 9 delegates apiece. While our prediction was not far off, the political team is readjusting its focus before the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday, February 9th. Looking back, too much emphasis was placed on the preferences of first-time caucus goers who would support Trump if they showed up to vote. As history tells us, potential first-time voters are unlikely to get to the polls, and Iowa in 2016 was no exception. Those caucus goers who had voted before tended to support Cruz, and he ultimately emerged the victor. The Iowa results are very informative to the Mock Convention political team in that we can now begin to deflate some of Trump’s high poll numbers elsewhere. This is not to say that Trump will not win New Hampshire, South Carolina, or the ultimate nomination; rather, his current poll numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. Despite a record voter turnout, it seems as if those who claim to support Trump aren’t actually showing up to cast a ballot. 

Mock Con Political Team's Iowa Caucus Prediction

Mock Convention’s Iowa Team Predicts Trump Win in Iowa Caucuses


LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA -- The 2016 Washington and Lee Mock Convention Political Team predicts Donald J. Trump will win the popular vote of the Iowa caucuses, the first step of the 2016 National Republican Primary.

As the nation looks toward the Iowa caucus on the brink of the presidential primary season, students at Washington and Lee University are mirroring Iowa’s research processes. W&L’s Iowa delegation, led by State Chair Will C. Brown ’16, has spent the last year delving into several key data points about the state. Through research of voter turnout rates, quality of campaign organization, the caucus vs. primary methods, state demographics and past electoral history, the student delegation feels it can correctly determine the state’s presidential pick.

Understanding the significance of Iowa in the nomination cycle, Brown and the rest of the Iowa delegation reached their conclusion by contacting professors, both in-state and from other universities who closely watch the Iowa election. Then, Brown met with the Mock Convention national political team, which is comprised of five regional chairs and two national analysts. Together, they and a few political consultants collaborated to predict who would win the state’s 27 bound delegates, allocating them proportionally based on a candidate’s projected final standing on Feb. 1, the night of the Iowa caucus. 

“Our goal in the state chair-national political team meetings is to combine all of our research and work together to make our final prediction for the state,” said Kevin Ortiz ’16, Mock Convention’s political analyst.

The political team predicts that the Iowa caucus will yield a close race for first place between Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, with both candidates earning nine delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump's strong populist support will ultimately carry him to a narrow victory in Iowa.

“This race has been unique to say the least. From Gov. Scott Walker’s early exit to Dr. Ben Carson’s meteoric rise and fall, the campaign has had its fair share of twists and turns,” said Brown. “Had you told me a year ago that Donald Trump would be winning Iowa’s caucuses, I wouldn’t have believed you.  But now, it looks at this point like Iowa’s ready to adopt the slogan Make America Great Again!" added Brown.

 Mock Convention’s Iowa political team notes that it is important to remember that the winner of the Iowa Caucus historically has not become the GOP nominee at the convention. Since 1980, only Bob Dole in 1996 and George Bush in 2000 have won the Iowa caucuses and emerged as the overall nominee.

“We say this only to remind readers that Trump's projected success in the Hawkeye state, while certainly a factor in who we ultimately predict come February 13th, will not be the sole data point to which the Mock Convention political team refers. There is much still to be seen in the 2016 National Republican Primary,” according to a statement issued by the Iowa political team.

With the Iowa caucus less than a week away, the big question remains: will Iowa follow W&L’s mock Iowa delegation and nominate Trump? And who will be the big winners in New Hampshire and South Carolina? Stay tuned for more Mock Convention news and join us for Convention Weekend, February 11-13.

Read the official report here.

Drum roll please...

 Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Mock Convention is ecstatic to welcome former Vice President Dick Cheney to Washington and Lee University as its fourth keynote speaker on Feb.12.

Mr. Cheney served as the Vice President under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. While serving as vice president, Mr. Cheney was best known for his involvement in matters of national security, especially following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Mr. Cheney attended Yale University for his undergraduate degree, and received both a B.A. and an M.A. in political science from the University of Wyoming.

Mr. Cheney began his career in the White House under President Gerald Ford, who chose Cheney to serve as the White House Chief of Staff from 1975 to 1977. Mr. Cheney was elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 as the sole member from his home state of Wyoming. Mr. Cheney was reelected to the House five times.

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Mr. Cheney to serve as Secretary of Defense. In his four years at the Pentagon, Mr. Cheney successfully led American forces in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991.

Mr. Cheney worked in the private sector through most of the 1990s as chief executive officer of Halliburton Company in Dallas, Texas until he was asked to serve as George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.

Mr. Cheney’s memoir, In My Time, was published in 2011, and he released his most recent book, An American Medical Odyssey, in 2013.

Mr. Cheney lives with his wife in Wyoming and has two daughters and seven grandchildren.

 Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky 

Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky 

Mock Convention is thrilled to announce that Kentucky Governor and Washington & Lee alum Matthew G. Bevin has joined our lineup of fantastic Convention speakers. Mr. Bevin will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 3:20 p.m. 

Governor Bevin was elected as the 62nd Governor of Kentucky in November, 2015. He attended W&L on an ROTC scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. After W&L, he went on to serve as an active duty United States Army officer, eventually transitioning into the Army Reserve and working in the financial industry. In 2011, he became president of Bevin Brothers, a bell manufacturing company that has produced bells used by Salvation Army volunteers. A company in the midst of bankruptcy, Bevin Bells was saved by Governor Bevin’s strong leadership and financial knowledge.

After moving to Kentucky seventeen years ago with his wife, Glenna, Bevin has had a large impact on his community. He founded several companies in Kentucky and has invested in numerous others throughout the Commonwealth. Bevin has experience managing and expanding various businesses across a range of industries and has served on many non-profit boards, including the Louisville Area American Red Cross. He has endowed numerous scholarship funds, grants and centers to provide America’s future with access to educational resources.

Come help us welcome Governor Bevin back to Lexington! 


And last but certainly not least, Mock Con welcomes acclaimed author and editor Rich Lowry to speak at Convention Weekend. Mr. Lowry will speak on Feb. 12 at 8:00 p.m. in The Warner Center.

Mr. Lowry is the editor of National Review, a conservative news and opinions magazine. He is also a syndicated columnist, focusing mainly on political topics. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and other publications.

He has appeared as a guest commentator on the FOX News Channel, as well as contributed articles to Politico. In addition, he makes frequent appearances on Meet the Press and This Week With George Stephanopoulos.

Mr. Lowry is the author of Lincoln Unbound, and Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years, which appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list.

A native of Arlington, Virginia, Mr. Lowry attended the University of Virginia, where he studied English and History. Today, he resides in New York City.