Dan Kessler and his sister, Anastasia Kessler-Delaccio, have spent the last couple of years hosting grassroots Hillary Clinton fundraisers for millennials across the country, including here in their native Philadelphia. And, to hear them tell it, they’re confused by the media campaign narrative that says that Bernie Sanders has a lock on young voters.
That’s the gist of an essay the two penned on thehill.com, the widely read politics website.
No doubt, Sanders has won the millennial vote in the early primary and caucus states. In part, that may be because, as evidenced by past insurgent campaigns waged by the likes of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Jesse Jackson, talk of outsider “revolution” stirs something in the young and idealistic. But the siblings Kessler are no wide-eyed newcomers to the world of hard-bitten politics. Their father, Philadelphia lawyer Alan Kessler, has long been a major insider player, a top fundraiser for Ed Rendell, Al Gore and the Clintons. They know that politics is the art of the possible, and they are certain that, practically speaking, Hillary Clinton’s experience will translate into getting stuff done. “She can push her policies through,” says Anastasia. And they’re convinced that their youthful compatriots are more pragmatic than the conventional storyline might hold.
“I guarantee you, by the time we get to states like Pennsylvania and California, the support will be there for Hillary among millennials,” Kessler says. “We have the RSVPs to prove it.”
In fact, the two point to a recent poll that measures millennial enthusiasm for the candidates. In that, Clinton and Sanders are tied.
Dan Kessler, who last year considered throwing his hat in the ring against Congressman Chaka Fattah, is an investment associate at Brandywine Realty Trust. Kessler-Dellacio, ten years older, is a mom and owner of a small business in Washington, D.C. Both intend to host millennial engagement events at the Democratic National Convention here this summer. As to which one will be the first to appear on an election day ballot, they’re cagey. “There will be a Kessler running sometime,” jokes Dan.