How this MIT Sloan MBA is harnessing the new dominant force in politics—Millennials – Dan Kessler

Dan Jordan Kessler, MBA ’19.

From BusinessBecause 

America has been to the polls for the first time since Donald Trump was elected in 2016. And more than anything, the races were a testing ground for the 2018-midterm elections and the presidential race to follow in 2020.

In that election in 2020, for the first time ever, Millennials will make up the largest segment of the American electorate with 91 million Millennials composing roughly 35 percent of the voting population.

As a result, in just two years, Millennials will be poised to become a dominant force in politics—a force that can be harnessed effectively and decisively. Therefore, the time has come for campaigns to redirect their focus away from their long-standing focus on baby boomers and engage Millennials in a meaningful and lasting way.

Right now, Millennials are fairly likely to be disengaged with the political process. With the average age of members of Congress at 58-years-old and Congressional leadership in their late 60s and 70s, Millennials, who seek social impact, simply feel as if they cannot relate to government across this generational divide.

Only 32 percent of millennials report that they feel that “people like them” have a legitimate voice in the election,” according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

In fact, most Millennials have never before been exposed to the political process in a truly meaningful and lasting way. They feel that their voices and votes simply do not register with older politicians. The Economist reported that only 30 percent of millennials reported even being contacted by a campaign in 2016.

So, with Millennials now representing a third of the American electorate, my mission has been to create a process of real participatory inclusiveness, fostering lasting and meaningful Millennial engagement and, while doing so, making politics fun and appealing for young people.

I know something about getting Millennials engaged. After Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy in April 2015, I founded her Millennial fundraising program.

I did so by democratizing fundraising, first forming a steering committee, charging them with continually expanding the group outward, ultimately bringing hundreds of young people together in a fun, unconventional venue, for which they would be making a very affordable financial commitment, with an added career benefit of high level networking, and securing a high profile campaign surrogate who could directly engage those attending by speaking to their issues:  student loan reform and rising cost of college tuition.

Our first fundraiser in Philadelphia drew over five hundred millennials followed by similarly well-attended events in Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Seattle, Atlanta and Virginia. All tolled, I raised over $270,000 for Hilary Clinton’s campaign and was the youngest fundraiser to do so.

Read the full post at BusinessBecause.

Dan Jordan Kessler is a first-year-MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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