LEXINGTON, VA – We now have an early prediction about who could win the Democratic nomination for president. The Washington and Lee University mock convention projects Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the top prize, but not until the last minute.
Students project Sanders will enter the national convention just shy of enough delegates to secure the nomination. Due to the crowded field of moderates, they think he'll win enough delegates on a second ballot.
This quadrennial student-run event has a time tested and reliable reputation. W&L held its first mock convention in 1908. Since then students have correctly predicted the nominee 20 out of 26 tries.
Students run every aspect of the event as they focus on the party out of power in the White House.
"And then we also write a platform so it's not just predicting a nominee, it's predicting the whole convention pretty much," says Kaitlyn Brock, a graduating senior who was responsible for managing the event's $1 million budget.
In 2016, students successfully predicted Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination, but this year has presented unique challenges.
"With Bloomberg entering the race late and just recently having his vast investment into campaign infrastructure start to really begin to show signs of success, as well as Biden's fall in Iowa and New Hampshire things, are a lot less sure," says Wes Culp.
He's on the political team that analyzes and adds up months of research compiled by student state chairs.
"We have not left a single stone unturned," Culp says.
As the 27th Mock Convention, we’re proud to announce the 2020 Democratic nominee for President of the United States to be Bernie Sanders. Photo credit to Gage Skidmore. #mockcon2020 #mockconvention @BernieSanders @SenSanders @DNC https://t.co/2eWQeI1QQS pic.twitter.com/3cNmExXHwJ
— W&L Mock Convention (@mockconvention) February 16, 2020
The complex process of figuring it all out is eye-opening for students.
"It's been really fun to get politically active, because I'm not politically active, and learn something or two. I'll be the first person in my family to vote ever in the states, I'm a daughter of immigrants, so that's been really exciting to kind of just learn and do it in a really fun way with my friends," Ayo Ehindero tells CBN News.
"It's been a unique experience where I've been able to kind of dive in and try to figure out everything that I believe in," says Harrison Travis who served on the Tennessee delegations.
"Our slogan is 'United to Predict' and I think especially, a lot of times, there's always news about how divided the country is. I think this organization is so great because it brings everyone on our campus together. We have over 98 percent of the student body involved," says Brock.
So, did they get it right? Now it's onward to Nevada, South Carolina, Super Tuesday and beyond to find out.