7/18/16 Uber Politics


The shared economy is an issue in this week’s GOP convention.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Services like AirBnB, Handy and Uber allow consumers and entrepreneurs to bypass traditional business models.  The public finds shared services more responsive and less expensive.  For operators, they can supplement their income or completely replace the traditional office job.  And they can be their own boss.

Politically, the battle lines have been drawn.  Republicans are supportive of shared services.  In fact, the GOP has a plank in its party platform supporting the so-called gig economy. It’s the first party to ever do so.

On the other hand, Democrats have been far less-friendly.  AirBnB is under assault from the New York legislature [here, here, here].  Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft have been driven-out of Austin, Texas. Bernie Sanders is a harsh critic of Uber.   And Hillary Clinton threatened to “crack-down” on shared services.  Democratic hostility is likely due to their deep ties with taxi and hotel unions. And opposition to businesses that operate without heavy government interference.

[Meanwhile, taxi drivers and black drivers of limousine services are threatening to boycott the DNC event.]

So, it may come as a surprise that Uber will be the exclusive ride partner of the Democratic National Convention.  Democrat VIPs will have access to a special fleet of Uber vehicles to ensure prompt transportation.  But Uber is not offering the same service at this week’s GOP Convention.

Politics create strange bedfellows.

[The reason for Uber choosing the Democratic Party over the GOP may be as simple as this.  Former Barack Obama campaign confidante David Plouffe is now a senior advisor to Uber.]

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