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The view from the prompter. Photos: Mike Allen/Axios

I visited my alma mater — Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. — this week for a sneak peek at Saturday's 27th running of a 112-year tradition: The nation's best known mock political convention.

Why it matters: The students treasure their record for accuracy, despite having to make the pick early in the primary process: In 26 previous conventions, W&L has correctly predicted the out-of-party nominee 20 times (including the year I was Western regional chair, and Sen. Joe Biden was our keynoter).

  • Each state has a political research team that interviews superdelegates and works family contacts for insider buzz. This year, the students built a model that will spit out a prediction for all 435 congressional districts.
Every delegation designs its own shirts.

Almost every one of the 1,860 undergraduates has a role in the campus-wide party — whether you're a delegate or working security or selling memorabilia.

  • The convention kicks off with a parade through town. Davis White (W&L '03) tells me about a buddy whose job it was to follow the elephant and do cleanup — dressed as a clown. This year, of course, there were donkeys.

W&L students correctly forecast Donald Trump as the Republican nominee on Feb. 13, 2016 — long before it was obvious to their parents.

  • Trump called in to accept the nomination.

📷 Watch live. Roll call session begins 3 p.m. ET.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Biden to sign 15 executive actions on Day One

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies.

Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Big Tech's post-riot reckoning

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.

Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.