April 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Two Former Democratic Aides Raise a Ruckus

Nathan Daschle and Ray Glendening Don’t Want Public to ‘Settle’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Ray Glendening (left) and Nathan Daschle, the sons of well-known politicians, launched the online organizing tool Ruck.us after no longer feeling connected to the Democratic Party.

Nathan Daschle and Ray Glendening are two of the last people you would expect to be politically homeless.

With prominent fathers, Democratic politics is literally in their blood and, more recently, the duo worked at the Democratic Governors Association. But Daschle and Glendening no longer feel the same personal or professional connection to the Democratic Party and are launching Ruck.us, an online organizing tool that they hope will push the parties to functional irrelevance.

"I was an unwavering Democrat because that was my best option," said Daschle, son of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). "My principles have not changed. ... The only thing that has changed is the medium I choose to realize my political goals."

To Daschle and Glendening, the two parties have simply failed to keep pace with today's world. In an age where customization is king, the two parties force people into rigid ideological boxes that often don't fit.

"Not only do I not agree with either party a lot of the time, I truly do not believe someone's politics falls on a linear scale," Glendening, son of former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening (D), told Roll Call. "I think most people feel left behind by the parties but 'settle.'"

"The idea of Ruck.us is to no longer settle," he added.

"On a number of issues, the Democratic Party is not progressive enough for me. On other issues, the party is too liberal. Yet on another set of issues, I am right in the party's mainstream," Daschle said in an interview. "Technology changed the game."

The goals of Ruck.us are to match politically like-minded people, help them share information and empower them to collective action, regardless of partisan affiliation.

Users create a profile by answering a series of questions and then are given a "ruck," a rugby term the duo refashioned. That ruck is organized around an issue instead of a party.

Daschle and Glendening only reluctantly talk about themselves because they believe Ruck.us is for the many more Americans who share their feelings about the political parties.

So far, more than 2,000 people have signed up for early access and set up profiles on Ruck.us, including former Nirvana bassist and political activist Krist Novoselic. That's not a lot of traffic, but they are encouraged that almost 20 percent of unique visitors to the site took the next step to set up their profile.

An official launch is scheduled for later this month, and the photogenic "Gary," "Carl" and "Alicia" on the home page will be replaced by genuine "ruck-bringers."

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