At the outset, all participants in the Mock Presidential Election (MPE) will be divided into two major political parties—Republicans (R) and Democrats (D). Students who identify with the Republican Party will play Republicans, and students who identify with the Democratic Party will portray Democrats. Of course, many students may not know what they are politically. Those students will be assigned to a party by their professor or simulation personnel to ensure approximate numerical parity. This initial bifurcation does not preclude the possibility of minor or third parties. Indeed, we have set aside one evening (Session 4) to accommodate the nomination of Green (G), Libertarian (L) and Tea Party (T) candidates. However, since the norm of American politics is a two-party system, we will limit the participation initially to the two centrist parties. The simulation will take place in six session over a three-week period. Refer to the MPE Schedule and Flow Chart for dates and locations.
Session 1. Mock Presidential Caucuses and Primaries. The presidential caucuses and primaries represent the first stage in the Mock Presidential Election—“The Road to the White House Starts at Western Illinois University.” In Sessions 1R and 1D, 27 states will select Delegates to the respective Republican and Democratic National Conventions (Sessions 2R/2D and Sessions 3R/3D). Delegates will be apportioned according the rules established by the national parties. The evening begins with an explanation of the rules. Each Presidential Candidate (or their Campaign Manager) will be called upon to deliver a three to five minute speech. Following the speeches, Field Workers will fan out among the state delegations to win voter support. Delegates will confer, complete questionnaires, read mock newspapers, and speak with Reporters and Broadcasters. Well into the session, there may be “impromptu” press conferences in which Reporters and Broadcasters will be permitted to ask questions of the Campaign Managers. The session will conclude with a roll call of the states and the apportioning of Delegates to the respective national party conventions. Please note that we will not select all of the Delegates in Sessions 1R and 1D in order to build suspense for the nominations in Sessions 3R and 3D. We will only simulate the state caucuses and primaries up through the actual “Super Tuesday” in 2012. Session 1 will be held in the University Union of the WIU-Macomb campus. Students from the other college campus are invited to participate.
Session 2. Mock National Nominating Conventions—Keynotes and Platforms. This represents the first night of the respective National Nominating Conventions, Republicans (2R) and Democrats (2D). Following the playing of the National Anthem and presentation of the flag by military Color Guard, the Keynote Speakers will deliver rousing partisan speeches. The Credential Committee and Platform Committee will then assemble, as Delegates hear speeches, meet with Field Workers, read mock newspapers, and interview with Reporters. Within an hour, the Platform Committee will deliver the Platform with 30 planks (issue positions and policy goals). The planks then will be presented to the Convention for approval. Delegates will employ modified Roberts Rules of Order to amend or table provisions in the proposed platform. A roll call of the states and a majority vote will ratify the official party platform. Session 2 will be held in the University Union of the WIU-Macomb campus, but students from Quad Cities campuses are encouraged to participate.
Session 3. Mock National Nominating Conventions—Nominate Presidential and Vice Presidential Tickets. The purpose of Session 3 is the nomination of the respective Republican (3R) and Democratic (3D) Presidential and Vice Presidential standard bearers. Each Convention Chair will reconvene the convention, explain the rules and permit each Presidential Candidate (or Campaign Manager) to give a short speech. Again, we strongly encourage actual candidates to visit WIU or to speak to the convention via live or taped satellite feed. The chair then will entertain nominating speeches while Field Workers circulate among the state delegates in an effort to amass votes. When the nominations cease, the balloting begins. Presidential contenders need a majority of the Delegate votes on the first ballot or a plurality of the votes on the second ballot to wrest the party’s nomination. Having selected the Presidential Nominee, the convention will then proceed to pick a Vice Presidential running mate by a roll call of the states. The conventions adjourn with the selection of the respective party tickets. Session 3 will be held in the University Union of the WIU-Macomb campus, but students from the other college campuses are invited to participate.
Session 4. Mock Third Party National Conventions--Platforms and Nominations. Not all students will feel comfortable with the two major political parties. In Session 4, students will have an opportunity to participate in the national nominating conventions of the Libertarian Party (Session 4L), the Green Party (Session 4G) or the Tea Party (4T). These third parties will draft and approve their respective party platforms and choose their respective presidential and vice presidential tickets. The leaders of these parties also will have an opportunity to speak freely to convention participants and members of the news media. Session 4 will be held in several locations University Union of the WIU-Macomb campus, and students from the Quad Cities are encouraged to attend.
Session 5. Presidential Election and Electoral College Vote. Session 5 simulates the final stage in the selection process in which all five political parties—Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians and Tea Partiers—assemble together in Western Hall to elect the new President and Vice President of the United States. The event will be conducted with all the patriotic pomp and symbolism of any American civic event. The great WIU marching band will provide the music. Session 5 will open with the presentation of colors, the singing of the National Anthem and remarks by representatives of the university. The session will include the presentation of the respective party platforms, speeches by Campaign Managers or actual Presidential contenders live or television. Campaign Managers are free to hold press conferences as Field Workers reach out to voters in the respective states. All Delegates are free to vote for any ticket of their choice. When the campaign ends, balloting will begin. Delegates will vote by state, and the candidate amassing the requisite 270 Electoral College votes will be declared the 45th President of the United States. In the event that no ticket secures the necessary majority vote, the election will be thrown to the United States Congress to select among the top three candidates. The Mock Presidential Election will conclude with patriotic music and a huge balloon drop. Students from the Quad Cities institutions plus First Year Experience Students on the WIU-Macomb campus are also welcome to attend and participate.