Trump can reach millennials through the sharing economy
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Millennials travel around using Uber instead of taxis, they use Airbnb instead of hotels, and they buy gifts on entrepreneurial sites like Etsy instead of brick-and-mortar stores. All of this can be done on your smartphone, with the swipe of a finger. Better choice, better price, no lines, delivery on demand.

Welcome to the sharing economy, which benefits workers and consumers alike. Uber has provided hundreds of thousands of flexible jobs while transforming how millions of Americans travel on a daily basis. Drivers make their own work hours, while consumers enjoy a ride that is more comfortable and reasonably priced than a taxi. It’s not a perfect system on every level, but most drivers and riders characterize the system as a win-win overall.


Yet Democrats around the country have mobilized to shut down Uber, regulate Airbnb, and stifle the sharing economy where it crops up. The purported motive is to help workers — a claim we can return to momentarily. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters MORE said he has “serious problems” with Uber because it’s unregulated. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee MORE has alleged that the “gig economy” enables a modern form of wage theft.

Given that the sharing economy has made many lives significantly easier and more cost effective, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE should be slamming the democrats on this issue where they are so easily revealed as out of touch and beholden to special interests.

There are more than 83 million millennials in the U.S. and they could make up the nation’s largest voting bloc in this year’s presidential election. Currently the massive demographic favors Clinton over Trump, 54 percent to 30 percent respectively. These are the same young, tech-savvy people whose way of life has been shaped by the on-demand economy.

Trump could put a dent in Clinton’s millennial support by exposing the threat that Democrats pose to apps and services that young people rely on all the time, as both consumers and workers.

The most commonly alleged problems in the sharing economy focus on workers’ wages and benefits. Clinton has leaned toward classifying workers, most of whom are currently independent contractors, as company employees. Besides making business significantly more expensive and less efficient, Clinton fails to recognize that many modern workers prefer being independent contractors.

Uber and Lyft drivers get to make their own hours that meets the needs of diverse lifestyles. And many drivers work for the companies on the side to earn supplemental income. 8 of 10 Lyft drivers choose to work fewer than 15 hours per week, while half of Uber drivers work fewer than 10 hours per week.

Another commonly cited concern in the sharing economy is consumer safety. But how bad are the problems here? Uber and Lyft both make drivers undergo extensive screening processes, which includes comprehensive background checks.

There may be some room for improvement in these tools for making the safety of consumers and the welfare of workers better — but it’s obvious that having Airbnb and Uber is better than not having them at all. Workers would rather have the work than no work; and consumers would rather have the products than not have them at all.

We’ve already seen how increased regulation has hurt the sharing economy at the local level. In May, Uber and competitor Lyft left Austin, Texas after the city imposed redundant regulations on the companies. For example, the city said drivers needed to be fingerprinted even though Uber and Lyft already had their own safety procedures in place. Since then, Uber has since threatened to leave Houston and Chicago for similar reasons.

Trump can appeal to consumers by shining a spotlight on the benefits of a free market driven by rapid advances in technology — and how Democrats pose a threat to those benefits. Millennials in particular have a unique understanding of how the sharing economy makes life better for everyone.

It’s up to Trump to tap into this and prove that conservatives will make it easier for innovative new services to thrive and expand.

Kristin Tate is a Conservative Columnist and Author of the new book, "Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride and what You can Do About It"

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