Forget the limousine liberal.
As the new model of disconnect between rhetoric and reality, but still maintaining an automotive theme, meet the Uber-denouncing politician whose campaign depends heavily on . . . Uber.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't mince words when it comes to Uber, which she claims has even caused cab drivers to commit suicide:
New York Socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once blamed ride-sharing giant Uber for leading a yellow cab driver to suicide. Her campaign then took $4,000 worth of Uber rides.
But Ocasio-Cortez, who rose to prominence after defeating top Democrat Joe Crowley in the party’s U.S. House primary in June, is no fan of Uber, if you read her statements on social media.
She frequently criticized the ride-hailing company for what she sees as underpaying its drivers, decrying their pay as “exploitation” if they don’t get at least $15 an hour, the so-called living wage.
She directly blamed the company for the suicide death of Doug Schifter, a driver in his 60s, who killed himself with a shotgun amid financial difficulties caused by flooding the streets of New York with alternative and cheaper options of taxis, as detailed in a lengthy Facebook post.
“NYC's fourth driver suicide. Yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber. What was a living wage job now pays under minimum,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
So of course, Ms. Ocasion-Cortez would rather walk miles than take Uber.
But between April and late June, the Ocasio-Cortez campaign recorded spending nearly $4,000 on Uber for what appears to be 160 rides by its staff, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records reveal.
The payments to Uber ranged from just 59 cents to $82.26 and were filed under “car service.” All the rides were taken in California. There’s no data yet for the months of July and August.
In her home state of New York, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign doesn’t use the traditional yellow cabs for getting around either.
The FEC records show that the campaign spent nearly $2,500 for more than 90 rides with the so-called ride-sharing startup company Juno that pitched itself as an alternative to Uber for drivers as it offered slightly better pay and an option to accumulate the company’s stock. There’s no data yet for any rides taken by the Ocasio-Cortez campaign between in July and August.
But the “driver-friendly” startup is barely any better for drivers than other ride-sharing companies. It was sold in April to Israel-based Gett for $200 million and immediately came under fire for scrapping the stock unit program for its drivers.
This prompted a class action by Juno drivers. “Plaintiffs were victims of the classic ‘bait and switch’ scheme – promised equity and then paid off at pennies on the dollar when all other shareholders/investors made out handsomely,” the suit reads.
I'm still trying to figure out what the fifty-nine cent ride was.