Uber, The Gig Economy And A Republican Opportunity Among Youth

It seems common knowledge in politics that Democrats and liberals are the politicians with the youth appeal. Their stances on gay rights, women's issues and income inequality seem to resonate more with younger voters than with older ones. It's been that way for as long as I can remember.

But Republicans may have found an opportunity of their own to portray their counterparts as out of touch with the way the world works in the 21st century. Uber is a ride-sharing service that allows consumers to hail a ride from individuals working as independent contractors. They drive their own cars in exchange for payment. They set their own hours. 

Businesses like Uber are a part of what is being called the "gig economy." Rather than working for a company with a clear career path, more individuals are working freelance and contract "gigs" on a temporary basis. 

Republicans get the hipness factor of companies like Uber, and they also know they make Democrats uncomfortable. Hillary Clinton has said as much when she said, "This on-demand, or so called 'gig economy', is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation. But it's also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future."

It's that kind of talk that sounds like regulation. Regulation that Republicans say will stifle individual freedom and business innovation. Their attitude is to keep the government out of these businesses and let these companies and individuals keep working together the way they want to work together.

Tech-savvy younger people (and not-so younger people) see freedom and opportunity in being able to break away from the big company model. They see the appeal of being able to be one's own boss, and set one's own hours, even if it means giving up a little bit of security. 

Technology is changing fast and so are consumer demands. More companies are seeing a benefit to hiring freelance workers to fulfill a specific need for a specific time, and when that gig is up, everyone can move on to a better fit. The idea of just finding "a good job" you can work at for years still has an appeal to some, but it's starting to feel like part of a different time - like part of the past and not the future. To some, it's on that note that Republicans are coming across as the forward-thinkers of tomorrow.

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