Daschle knows it’s no original thought that America’s two-party system is broken and increasingly unpopular, but he speaks with the zealotry of the converted about the power of the technology — perhaps via his own Web startup Ruck.us — to upend it. And this from a guy who didn’t think of himself as a techie until he discovered Twitter.
“History is littered with failed attempts to reform the system, but never before have we had the connectivity that we have now, and I felt there was something really powerful there,” said Daschle, having shucked power suits for tight Alexander McQueen T-shirts that show off tattoo-scribbled biceps.
“We can now replicate core political party functions online,” Daschle adds. “Political parties basically do three things: They bring together like-minded people. They share ideas and information. And then they take collective action. You don’t need political parties to do those things anymore. You can do all those things with social media.”
From an outsider, such talk might be easy to dismiss. But Daschle was the ultimate insider, named only 20 months ago by Time magazine as one of 40 politicos under 40 to watch. His father, Tom, was elected to Congress when Nathan was 5 and became Senate minority leader when Nathan was in college. His mother is President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Denmark, his stepmother is a prominent lobbyist and his sister is a top aide to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.