[image-2]I've been communicating with a student at Washington and Lee University, my alma mater, which has a famous Mock Convention every presidential election year in which students try to replicate the out-party's presidential nominating convention to predict, in advance, the party's nominee. This year, it's the Democrats and they'll meet Jan. 25-26 at a session featuring a raft of Democratic speakers from Jesse Jackson to Sen. Jim Webb with former Rep. Charles Wilson in between.
The convention has failed at predicting the winner only once since 1948 -- in 1972, my mock convention year. Insurgent Teddy Kennedy forces hijacked the political science experiment with raw emotion. Jimmy Carter, who would win in 1976, was the keynote speaker. (A special prize to anyone who can identify the two young men riding on the Arkansas "float" in the 1972 Mock Convention parade on Lexington, Va.'s Main Street.)
The question of the hour for the Arkansas delegation is who will win the Arkansas Democratic primary. Percentage is also important. Delegates are parceled out proportionate to the vote, but candidates must get a 15 percent minimum to qualify.
So, prompted by that memory and to help the mock delegates, a contest:
$50 to the Blog reader who comes closest to predicting the percentage votes in the Arkansas primary Feb. 5 for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. We won't rate the "other" category, except by summary implication.
To be eligible, you must submit a guess by noon Monday. To collect, of course, you'll have to tell me, at least privately, your identity.
REVISED: On my morning walk, I decided I'd been irrationally exuberant about Edwards and not sufficiently exuberant about Obama. But I'll stick with these now, no matter what.
Clinton -- 52 percent
Obama -- 35 percent
Edwards -- 7 percent