Bernie Sanders’ supporters have reason to be rude

Update, February 27, 2020: Apparently Bernie Sanders needs a supermajority of 60 percent of committed delegates to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot at the Convention. Should he fail to win them, superdelegates will do everything in their power to deny him the nomination.[1]


So, this morning, I accused Bernie Sanders of being too polite.[2]

It’s my turn. I’m stuck driving for Uber and Lyft, doing a job I hate, doing a job far beneath my capabilities, because as near as I can tell, this entire job search thing has devolved into a scam.[3] I have zero financial security, am paid shit,[4] and take on a lot of risks—collision, stress, and financial—for which I am essentially uncompensated. I suffer humiliation—I have a Ph.D. but can only find work as, for all practical purposes, a taxi driver.[5] I get no time off—shit wages mean I can’t afford to take it. I have no realistic hope of advancement or improvement in my condition.[6] And I don’t even know how long Uber and Lyft can survive—they aren’t profitable and probably can’t really be profitable.[7] Which is to say, even if I manage to hold everything else together, I can still lose this job, the only job I can find,[8] through absolutely no fault of my own.

And now I get the guilt trip. It turns out that Uber and Lyft rides generate 70 percent more pollution than the trips they replace.[9] This on top of news that Uber and Lyft contribute dramatically to traffic congestion.[10] The same traffic congestion that drives me and my passengers absolutely bonkers.

And no, I can’t afford an electric car like some environmentalists would prefer I drive.[11] I don’t even have a place to plug it in even if I could and this whole thing with batteries being best charged slowly only to a certain level means I would have even less range than advertised and less availability than I need.

So Sanders’ opponents and their supporters think I’m rude? Hell yes, I’m rude. I’m furious. I have absolutely no reason to let them live unmolested in their comfortable privileged bubbles dreaming about how we have all these problems but we can take our time solving them while the Democratic National Committee schemes or fumbles to deny Sanders the nomination anyway[12] because that’s what they do[13] and we’re already pretty clear about how they feel about progressives anyway.[14]

It’s just fine, they think, that I can’t get a real job, can’t get real benefits, could wind up homeless when I can’t drive anymore. And Sanders is the only major party candidate who even comes close to giving voice to my fury.

My story won’t be identical with those of other Sanders’ supporters, not by a very long shot. But there’s a theme here in which many of us exist solely as means to rich people’s ends. In the many shapes our lives take, abuse and exploitation are our common lot in life.[15] When Sanders’ opponents complain about our rage, what many of us are going to hear is that we should be happy with that.

Sanders’ opponents can take their intellectually utterly discredited neoliberalism[16] and fuck right the hell off.

  1. [1]Lisa Lerer and Reid J. Epstein, “Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders,” New York Times, February 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/democratic-superdelegates.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Bernie Sanders is too polite,” Irregular Bullshit, February 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/02/26/bernie-sanders-is-too-polite/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  4. [4]Cyrus Farivar, “What’s Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage? $10 or lower, report finds,” Ars Technica, March 6, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/whats-uber-and-lyft-drivers-median-hourly-wage-under-4-report-finds/; Aaron Gordon, “Uber And Lyft Don’t Have A Right To Exist,” Jalopnik, August 30, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-dont-have-a-right-to-exist-1837680434; Sam Levin, “Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds,” Guardian, March 1, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/uber-lyft-driver-wages-median-report; Natasha Lomas, “MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks,” TechCrunch, March 2, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/02/mit-study-shows-how-much-driving-for-uber-or-lyft-sucks/; Robert Maxim and Mark Muro, “Uber’s IPO fallout underscores the need for a new labor model,” Brookings, May 23, 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/05/23/ubers-ipo-fallout-underscores-the-need-for-a-new-labor-model/; Alexa Noel, “Revised MIT Study Says Uber, Lyft Drivers Make About $8 or $10 per Hour,” Points Guy, March 8, 2018, https://thepointsguy.com/2018/03/revised-mit-study-says-uber-lyft-drivers-make-about-8-or-10-per-hour/; Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/11/uber-ipo-risk-factors
  5. [5]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/; Claude S. Fischer et al., “Why Inequality?” In Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 9-15; Jay MacLeod, “Social Immobility in the Land of Opportunity, in Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 22-26; Robert K. Merton, “Social Structure and Anomie,” in Social Theory, ed. Charles Lemert, 6th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2017), 181-190.
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  8. [8]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  9. [9]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study,” Verge, February 25, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/25/21152512/uber-lyft-climate-change-emissions-pollution-ucs-study
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  11. [11]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study,” Verge, February 25, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/25/21152512/uber-lyft-climate-change-emissions-pollution-ucs-study
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