As Uber, an app that connects people with nearby drivers for carpooling, gains popularity, the company also sees a rise in legislative attempts to regulate it and ensure rider safety. States have tried to introduce rules regarding the drivers and even halt its operation in the respective state (Washington Post). Such measures are usually backed by taxi and insurance corporations, but now, Uber quickly contacts its user base to counter regulatory bills. The company provides its users with convenient methods, allowing them to easily sign online petitions and display their protests to government officials. Additionally, Uber's professional lobbyists turn their influence on legislators whom they think can be persuaded to vote against the measures. In cases such as those involving the Virginia DMV and Illinois' bill, Uber has effectively used both its users and lobbyists to fight regulations, and usually, win.
The company's growing influence can be used a tool for the two major political parties. Currently, Democrats are generally supporting Uber. However, Republicans could also "'make a comeback' in Democratic cities" to target Uber's left-leaning audience (Washington Post). This tactic would call to the grassroots network supporting Uber and possibly attract the younger audience to the Republican Party.
Without the company's large network of users, I believe it would be more difficult for it to combat legislative regulatory efforts. Any corporation can hire lobbyists, but especially compared to other ride-sharing app rivals, Uber's fast and effective mobilization of its users allows the company to ask for and receive instant support--as in one case, people have answered so quickly that the rate peaked at "seven electronic signatures per second" (Washington Post). Uber is able to quickly show that its position is "representative" of the people and assure that they are working with them, instead of just sending lobbyists straight to lawmakers.
Would Republican support for Uber bring voters to the party?
As technology becomes more prominent in our daily lives, will more companies be able to successfully employ the double tactic that Uber uses?
Do you think Uber, or similar companies, should be regulated, and how?