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,
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Bernie Sanders is too polite,” Irregular Bullshit, February 26, 2020,
  3. [3]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,
  4. [4]Cyrus Farivar, “What’s Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage? $10 or lower, report finds,” Ars Technica, March 6, 2018,; Aaron Gordon, “Uber And Lyft Don’t Have A Right To Exist,” Jalopnik, August 30, 2019,; Sam Levin, “Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds,” Guardian, March 1, 2018,; Natasha Lomas, “MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks,” TechCrunch, March 2, 2018,; Robert Maxim and Mark Muro, “Uber’s IPO fallout underscores the need for a new labor model,” Brookings, May 23, 2019,; Alexa Noel, “Revised MIT Study Says Uber, Lyft Drivers Make About $8 or $10 per Hour,” Points Guy, March 8, 2018,; Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019,
  5. [5]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,
  6. [6]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,; 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.
  7. [7]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019,; David Benfell, “Watching the ridesharing shit go down the toilet,” Not Housebroken, July 30, 2019,; David Benfell, “Uber appears to be going down,” Not Housebroken, August 11, 2019,; David Benfell, “Proof of investor irrationality: The case of Uber (and Lyft),” Not Housebroken, August 22, 2019,; David Benfell, “Liking Lyft, not liking Uber,” Not Housebroken, August 27, 2019,; David Benfell, “Uber’s spiral down,” Not Housebroken, August 29, 2019,; Eliot Brown, “Uber Wants to Be the Uber of Everything—But Can It Make a Profit?” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019,; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019,; Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017,; Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018,; Stephen Wilmot, “Uber’s Long Road to Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2019,; Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019,
  8. [8]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,
  9. [9]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study,” Verge, February 25, 2020,
  10. [10]Emily Badger, “Is Uber Helping or Hurting Mass Transit?” New York Times, October 16, 2017,; Laura Bliss, “How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?” CityLab, August 5, 2019,; Eliot Brown, “The Ride-Hail Utopia That Got Stuck in Traffic,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2020,; Katie Dowd, “Why is San Francisco traffic so bad? Uber and Lyft are to blame, says city,” SFGate, December 13, 2016,; Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, “SFPD: Uber, Lyft account for two-thirds of congestion-related traffic violations downtown,” San Francisco Examiner, September 25, 2017,; Faiz Siddiqui, “A new study says services like UberPool are making traffic worse,” Washington Post, July 25, 2018,; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco investigating whether Uber, Lyft are public nuisances,” Reuters, June 5, 2017,
  11. [11]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study,” Verge, February 25, 2020,
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Bipartisan ‘meritocracy’ and ‘vote Blue no matter who,’” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2020,; David Benfell, “The Democrats don’t need ‘election interference,’” Not Housebroken, February 9, 2020,
  13. [13]Donna Brazile, “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC,” Politico, November 2, 2017,; Justine Coleman, “Obama privately said he would speak up to stop Sanders: report,” Hill, November 26, 2019,; Shane Goldmacher, “Hillary Clinton Slams Bernie Sanders for Not Working to Unite Democrats in 2016,” New York Times, January 31, 2020, ttps://; Ryan Lizza, “Waiting for Obama,” Politico, November 26, 2019,; Dan Merica, “Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are ‘grooming’ Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run,” CNN, October 21, 2019,; David Roth, “Bernie Sanders Is No Donald Trump,” New Republic, February 21, 2020,; Alex Shephard, “The Impotence of ‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats,” New Republic, April 18, 2019,
  14. [14]Blue Texan [pseud.], “Early Morning Swim: Ed Rendell tells Democratic base to ‘Get Over It’ on Rachel Maddow,” Shadowproof, September 23, 2010,; Blue Texan [pseud.], “Stop Whining, Liberals!” Shadowproof, September 27, 2010,; Michael Falcone, “Opposite Day On The Campaign Trail?” ABC News, September 21, 2010, archived by author; Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s view of liberal criticisms,” Salon, September 17, 2010,; David Neiwert, “President Obama lashes out at his liberal critics: Choice is to ‘get things done’ or feel ‘sanctimonious’,” Crooks and Liars, December 7, 2010,; Heather Digby Parton, “‘It’s always the hippies’ fault’: Why the left treats its idealists all wrong,” Salon, February 5, 2015,; Greg Sargent, “Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of ‘hippie punching’,” Washington Post, September 23, 2010,; Stephen Stromberg, “Joe Biden scolds progressives — and he’s right,” Washington Post, September 16, 2010,; Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” Hill, August 10, 2010,
  15. [15]Daniel D’Addario, “Amazon is worse than Walmart,” Salon, July 30, 2013,; Timothy Egan, “The Corporate Daddy,” New York Times, June 19, 2014,; Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (New York: Owl, 2001); Josh Eidelson, “Wal-Mart faces warehouse horror allegations and federal Labor Board complaint,” Salon, November 19, 2013,; Josh Eidelson, “Tens of thousands protest, over 100 arrested in Black Friday challenge to Wal-Mart,” Salon, November 30, 2013,; Josh Eidelson, “Finally paying for Wal-Mart’s sins: Wage theft settlement yields millions,” Salon, December 16, 2013,; Josh Eidelson, “Freezing for Wal-Mart: Sub-zero warehouse temperatures spur Indiana work stoppage,” Salon, January 14, 2014,; Josh Eidelson, “Amazon Keeps Unions Out By Keeping Workers in Fear, Says Organizer,” Alternet, January 22, 2014,; Nichole Gracely, “‘Being homeless is better than working for Amazon,’” Guardian, November 28, 2014,; Steven Greenhouse, “The Changing Face of Temporary Employment,” New York Times, August 31, 2014,; Erin Hatton, “The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy,” New York Times, January 26, 2013,; Simon Head, “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers,” Salon, February 23, 2014,; Paul Jaskunas, “The Tyranny of the Forced Smile,” New York Times, February 14, 2015,; Allison Kilkenny, “Ohio Walmart Holds Food Drive For Its Own Employees,” Nation, November 18, 2013,; Molly Kinder, “Trump’s State of the Union declared we’re in a ‘blue-collar boom.’ Workers don’t agree,” Brookings, February 6, 2020,; Paul Krugman, “The Plight of the Employed,” New York Times, December 24, 2013,; Paul Krugman, “The Fear Economy,” New York Times, December 26, 2013,; Danielle Kurtzleben, “Read McDonald’s workers’ shocking harassment and discrimination complaints — and why they’re so important,” Vox, January 22, 2015,; Edward McClelland, “You call this a middle class? “I’m trying not to lose my house,’” Salon, March 1, 2014,; Mac McClelland, “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave,” Mother Jones, March/April 2012,; Nathaniel Mott, “From Amazon warehouse workers to Google bus drivers, it’s tough working a non-tech job at a tech company,” Pando, October 9, 2014,; Marc Pilisuk with Jennifer Achord Rountree, Who Benefits From Global Violence and War (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008).; Ari Rabin-Havt, “Wal-Mart flunks its fact-check: The truth behind its sarcastic response to the Times,” Salon, June 25, 2014,; Michael Sainato, “‘I’m not a robot’: Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse,” Guardian, February 5, 2020,; Alex Seitz-Wald, “Amazon is everything wrong with our new economy,” Salon, July 30, 2013,; Alana Semuels, “As employers push efficiency, the daily grind wears down workers,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2013,; Alana Semuels, “How the relationship between employers and workers changed,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2013,; Alana Semuels, “Tougher workplace makes home life worse too,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2013,; Spencer Soper, “Inside Amazon’s Warehouse,” Lehigh Valley Morning Call, September 18, 2011,; Scott Sernau, Worlds Apart: Social Inequalities in a Global Economy, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2006); Lindsay Wise, “Report: Temp jobs at all-time high in U.S.,” McClatchy, September 2, 2014,
  16. [16]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Amir Fleischmann, “The Myth of the Fiscal Conservative,” Jacobin, March 5, 2017,; Jason Hickel, “Progress and its discontents,” New Internationalist, August 7, 2019,; Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012); Robert Kuttner, “Austerity never works: Deficit hawks are amoral — and wrong,” Salon, May 5, 2013,; Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead, 2011); Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis, “Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel,” Nation, July 6, 2015,; John Quiggin, “Austerity Has Been Tested, and It Failed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2013,; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “How Austerity Kills,” New York Times, May 12, 2013,; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “Paul Krugman’s right: Austerity kills,” Salon, May 19, 2013,

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