A History Of Washington And Lee's Mock Convention
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Politics and Activism

A History Of Washington And Lee's Mock Convention

Don't mock it before you try it.

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A History Of Washington And Lee's Mock Convention
Parker Butler

With the 2016 Presidential Election right around the corner, newscasters are talking on and on about the latest polls and who's up in points and who's falling behind. Just last week, the Iowa caucus proved that predicting the presidential nominees is going to be more difficult than expected. However, one school is stepping up to the plate, and they hope to live up to their reputation of having one of the most accurate predictions of the presidential election winners in American history.

Washington and Lee University is a small, private liberal arts college located in Lexington, Virginia. The first Mock Convention at W&L was held in 1908 when William Jennings Bryan, the leader of the Democratic polls at the time, visited the school. After hearing of his upcoming visit, a popular political organization on campus organized a replica of the national Democratic Convention. There, after serious debate, the men at the university correctly predicted Bryan to be the 1908 nominee.

Ever since, except the years of 1920 and 1944, W&L has hosted a Mock Convention every four years for the party that is not currently represented by the sitting president at the time. The school has hosted a great deal of impressive speakers including Harry S. Truman in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1968, and Bill Clinton in 1988 where he famously played saxophone impromptu at an off-campus party.

Since 1908, the convention, which is completely student-run, has been correct 18 out of 24 times in its prediction of the presidential nominee. The convention has only been wrong twice in its prediction since 1948, including 2008 when the convention predicted Hillary Clinton as the nominee when Barack Obama was later elected as the nominee.

As the Mock Convention has continued over the years, students have signed up for different delegations -- all of which are different states in America as well as specific American territories, such as Guam. Each delegation works to raise money for the Convention by selling T-shirts or selling Chick-fil-A sandwiches around campus. Furthermore, delegations work hard to prepare floats for the parade that takes place the week of the Mock Convention.

Because the convention only happens four times a year, students go all out to make the most out of it. During the fall term, W&L hosts a Presidential Gala to begin the celebrations for the Convention that occurs in the Winter term.

W&L's Mock Convention has been considered with great regard by politicians everywhere for many decades. It has an acclaimed reputation for its accuracy and is renowned for its prevalence among other mock conventions.

So, now that you have a bit of an idea of where W&L's Mock Convention got started, stay tuned this upcoming weekend for the outcome of the convention. Because, as history has it, the odds W&L correctly predicts the Republican nominee is more likely than not.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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