By Katherine Berman ’22
On Oct. 3, the Mock Convention team released The Political Hub, the original political section of the Mock Con website that keeps readers up-to-date on the Mock Con Political Department and the progression of the Democratic Primary.
“For us, The Political Hub is the best way to show the greater community what we’ve been up to for the past couple of months,” said John Harashinski, the 2020 Political Chair. “I know that the whole process can seem a little hazy, arcane, or even secretive at times, but it’s just hard to disseminate what we’re doing. Political Hub is the perfect medium to make information more accessible.”
The Political Hub serves as a platform for the Political Team to disseminate information and help the Mock Con community learn more about the primary process, the Political Team, and how the prediction is cast.
“A lot of students want to know [more information] but don’t know where to look or what sources to trust,” said Valerie Marshall, the 2020 Northeast Regional Chair. “The Political Hub is an entertaining and easy way for students to get involved in politics.”
The Political Hub features three sections: “Meet the Candidates,” “What We’re Reading,” and “Our Take.”
The “Meet the Candidates” section allows readers to view the same candidate profiles that the Political Team uses in its research. Likewise, the “What We’re Reading” section shows readers where the Political Team gets their information and what inspires their analysis.
“[We wanted] to really give the community the same tools we’re using and allow them to draw their own conclusions,” said Harashinski. “Of course, if they don’t want to, we have the “Our Take” section where we’re going to go over our analysis of what we’re seeing and what we think is important in relation to the primary.”
Members of the Political team will write and publish articles for the “Our Take” section every other week. Some of these articles include debate recaps, which always come from the desk of the Political Chair. Before the Convention in February, Harashinski will write a final article outlining the work that the Political Team has completed over the past two years.
“We have a lot of flexibility to write about current politics as a way to just engage people and try to get the word out and get people talking about Mock Con,” said Marshall.
To kick off the Political Team’s writing, Southwest Regional Chair Noah Gallagher decided to write an article about the early primary process and Super Tuesday, which is one of the most important days of the primary. The Convention’s Democratic Party Analyst, Luke Basham, wrote about the latest Democratic debate and the polling changes that have occurred since.
“I wanted to provide a perspective of what the field looked like before the Democratic debate last month, and what, if anything, changed as a result of the debate,” said Basham. “Two weeks gives us a big enough window to gauge reactions to the debate.”
The Political Hub was created to keep its readers informed through an apolitical lens; in today’s partisan political climate, it aims to foster responsible discourse within the community.
“We want to make this a model of what civil discourse can be,” said Harashinski. “It sounds weird taking the politics out of politics, but our ultimate goal is to predict, and also to unite to predict.”
When the Political Team meets, they discuss a myriad of subjects from different ways state primary results could affect Super Tuesday to which candidate is raising the most money to various candidates’ paths to victory.
“I think that The Political Hub will help show just how methodical and in-depth the political team’s process is and how much we value getting the prediction right,” said Basham.
“When it’s all said and done, there are 1,700 people in the Political Department, if you count all of the delegates. That 1,700 is huge, and we need all of them to help cut through the noise and get this thing right,” added Harashinski.
The team hopes that The Political Hub will increase Mock Con’s exposure not just in the Washington and Lee community but across the nation.
“I think The Political Hub is two-fold,” said Basham. “[Readers will] see how important the nominating process is to us, how deep our research goes, and how often we’re meeting and hammering these things out. I think [they will] see how much we value the Convention and how crucial getting this prediction right is to us. We want to provide a window into the Political Team and serve to further excite students about the Convention.”