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.
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.