Washington & Lee Hosts Mock Convention


Patti Solis Doyle speaks at Mock Con.

Stephanie Weisberger, Reporter

            Washington and Lee students gathered during Feb. 14 and 15  for an assembly to select the Democratic nominee for the 2020 Presidential candidate. The Mock Con. at W&L is held every four years to predict a nominee for the party that is not currently in the White House. This is their educated prediction for the opponent in the Presidential race.

           Mock Con. featured a full schedule that started with a student run parade in downtown Lexington with floats representing the U.S. states. This was followed by an assembly of distinguished political speakers and programs.  Finally, there was a student led nomination process similar to the nation’s Democratic Party Convention. The students along with ticket holders filled a convention forum that seats 1800 people along with a distinguished list of speakers and guests.

             Junior Donald Lecompte was the Logistics Chair for the event. 

           “We think of all the behind the scenes details that make what you see here possible. Being able to transform an event which  has always happened in the Warner Center into a brand new event space is a challenge, but it also gave us a bunch of really cool opportunities, too. Opportunities like being creative, being flexible, and having a bunch of new elements that Mock Con. has never seen before.”

             Junior Kylie Piotte was the Director of Operations for Mock Con.

 “We needed volunteers to do concessions, coat rack, ushers, runners, and escorts.  We are so grateful to everyone who helped out,” said Piotte. “With over 1500 people attending, we needed all the help we could get. I could not believe the turn-out of volunteers.”

Junior Coleman Martinson was the Memorabilia and Sales Chair for the event. 

“During the event I focused on running the concession stand and supervising the sale memorabilia. I am excited to be doing it,” said Martinson. “In previous years, we’ve only sold up to $30,000 in merchandise. This year, the sales record is the highest it has ever been, with sales of $75,000. We have more than tripled our sales record.”

The 2020 Mock Con. was the first to ever take place at the Duchossois Tennis Center.

“This is the first time the convention is being held in the tennis center, as in previous years it has been held in the gym. The different space presents new challenges,”said Piotte. “The floor plan is different and the capacity is different.We expected parking issues, so we arranged for multiple shuttles running all over town.”

        W&L is known for their success rate in predicting the confirmed nominee selected in the primary process.

        The students work hard to achieve success in their Mock Convention. The event had four floats that were given prizes. Alabama and Georgia came in third, South Dakota second, and Texas came in first. The Mock Con. had speakers ranging from Donna Brazille, a political strategist and former CNN contributor, that livened up the crowd on Saturday morning to comedian Trevor Noah from the Daily Show that same day.  

          The culmination of the convention was the tallying of the delegates from each state resulting in Senator Bernie Sanders receiving the highest count but not reaching the threshold for a clear victory. That meant that it was a contested convention and the super delegates were called in to contribute their votes. The result of that contested convention was the naming of Senator Bernie Sanders as the Mock Convention Democratic nominee. A representative from the Sanders campaign was contacted and accepted the nomination. Then, the crowd had the rare opportunity to hear Lee Greenwood perform, “God Bless the USA” while red, white, and blue balloons were released. The crowd sang along, concluding the 2020 Mock Convention.