Students react to Trump nomination

Students and faculty share thoughts on Mock Con’s prediction of Trump as Republican nominee


Ellen Kanzinger

Trump calls in to thank the convention for their nomination and to answer questions posed by the Steering Committee. Photo by Ellen Kanzinger, ‘18.

Faith Isbell

The 56 state and territory delegations have spoken, and Washington and Lee’s 26th Mock Convention has predicted Mr. Donald J. Trump as the Republican nominee in the upcoming presidential election.

Trump claimed the Republican nomination with 1,320 votes—followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz with 652 votes and Florida Senator Marco Rubio with 399 votes. The remaining candidates included Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee.

William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics Robert Strong said that this was one of the hardest Mock Convention years he can remember.

“Iowa and New Hampshire left a crowded field that include some very unconventional candidates in both political parties,” Strong said. “Predicting the outcome of this presidential Republican nomination season early in February is truly a daunting task. I have nothing but praise for the students who took up this challenge.”

Skyler Zunk, ‘19, was one of the many students who took up said challenge. Zunk served on Mock Convention’s Platform Committee and is confident that the platform will reflect the GOP’s ideology this summer.

“It’s clear that the 2016 Mock Con prediction was the most difficult one in recent history,” Zunk said. “We’ve been so accurate in the past and while I’m shocked that we picked Trump, I’ve got to trust the thousands of hours the research team put in to pick the right nominee.”

William Rhyne, ‘18, however, was not surprised. Rhyne served as the state chair for North Carolina. North Carolina granted 25 votes to both Trump and his competitor, Cruz.

“I’m confident that we got [the nomination] right,” Rhyne said.

Throughout its 108 years of existence, Mock Convention has been correct in their predictions 19 out of 25 times and have been correct about the Republican Party nomination since 1948.

Some students, such as Ella Rose, ‘19, were not as pleased with the nomination.

“I would rather us be wrong than Trump be president,” said Rose, who served on the Puerto Rico delegation. “I don’t think he will represent America in a good light. Let’s just say that I can’t imagine [Trump] having lunch with the Queen of England.”

Some students have taken to social media to state that Mock Convention’s nomination of Trump was by no means an endorsement but a prediction.

“It’s important to remember that although we predict Trump as the nominee, most students maintain that Trump is by no means their GOP candidate of choice,” Zunk said.

In addition to nominating Trump, the Convention also nominated Kentucky Governor and W&L alum Matt Bevin as the vice president. Bevin was Mock Convention’s keynote speaker and delivered a powerful address before the Roll Call took place.

Mary Silliman, ‘18, was able to meet Bevin in person and even asked for a hug and a selfie.

“[His speech] was incredible and empowering,” Silliman said. “My vote is for Matt Bevin. America needs him. He could make America great again.”

Rose agreed and felt that Bevin communicated a meaningful message.

“I liked that [Bevin] didn’t talk much about politics, but he inspired us to be involved in the political process and exercise wisdom and courage,” Rose said. “He reminded us of the importance of our voices and our contributions in politics.”