recommended reading

The Republican Party Loves Uber

A smartphone is mounted on the glass of an Uber car

A smartphone is mounted on the glass of an Uber car // Rafiq Maqbool/AP

The Republican Party is in love with Uber, and it wants to publicly display its affection all over the Internet.

The Republican National Committee blasted out an email Wednesday encouraging supporters to sign a new petition in support of "innovative companies like Uber," a popular ride-sharing service that has sprung up in more than 160 cities worldwide, much to the chagrin of more traditional taxi fleets.

"Our cities also deserve innovative, efficient, and safe transportation choices without excessive and intrusive bureaucratic red tape," the email, which doubles as a fundraising pitch, reads. "That's why our cities need innovative solutions like the Uber car service."

Uber allows those in need of a quick lift to use a mobile app to order a driver. It and similar ride-sharing companies have become hugely popular among young urbanites, but they are barred or restricted in a number of cities. Local officials in Seattle passed a law earlier this year limiting the number of alternative taxi drivers allowed on the road at any given time.

Those sort of laws are derided in the email, written by RNC Finance Director Katie Walsh, as attempts "to block Uber from providing services simply because it's cutting into the taxi unions' profits."

Wednesday's petition was assembled without Uber's knowledge, and the company is for now choosing to remain mum about the GOP's sudden embrace, other than to say in a statement: "Everyone loves Uber!"

Boasting the virtues of Uber is nothing new for Republicans. In March, Sen. Marco Rubio gave a speech touting the ride-share company as a disruptive technology that shouldn't be limited by big government.

"What regulation should never be is a way to prevent innovation from happening," Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential hopeful, said at the time. "It should never allow government ... to protect established incumbents at the expense of an innovative competitor."

Once a loud standard-bearer for immigration reform, Rubio's pivot toward tech issues appears to signal a new strategy within the GOP for how to resonate with young, urban voters.

Rubio's adulation of Uber followed a speech he gave at Google's Washington office, where he noted that ride-sharing restrictions were something young voters cared about.

"For the first time, I see young people that potentially might be friendly to more government involvement in our economy arguing against regulatory impediments to an existing business—in this case, government crowding them out," the freshman senator said.

A Republican National Committee spokeswoman said the petition was created without consulting Rubio, but the party has apparently caught wind of the Florida Republican's tech-first message.

Several large cities across the country are grappling with how, or whether, to change their taxi codes to address the growing encroachment of alternative transportation companies, including Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

The timing of the petition coincides with the GOP's summer meeting in Chicago, where Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is weighing legislation on his desk that would create statewide restrictions on ride-sharing companies.

Threatwatch Alert

Credential-stealing malware / User accounts compromised / Software vulnerability

Android Malware Infects More than 1M Phones, Adds 13,000 Devices a Day

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.