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Trump campaign and GOP officials love Uber, avoid Lyft

Uber or Lyft? Republican officials have chosen.
Uber or Lyft? Republican officials have chosen.
Image: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
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Republican party officials and campaign staffers for US president Donald Trump prefer riding with Uber, while almost completely ignoring Lyft. That’s according to campaign filings reviewed by Quartz, spanning from Jan. 1 to now.

The expenditures are required to be posted publicly by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Lyft has vocally opposed certain policies pursued by the Trump administration, such as with immigration, tending to lean left.

“We’re woke,” Lyft president John Zimmer told Time magazine in 2017. “Our community is woke, and the US population is woke.”

That same year, Lyft pledged $1 million to the ACLU in response to president Trump’s anti-immigration agenda. During the 2018 midterm elections, Lyft provided underserved communities with free rides to the polls. (There remains some debate about Lyft’s level of “wokeness.”)

Uber, for its part, has long been a GOP darling. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Jeb Bush took an Uber for photographers, and Marco Rubio has used Uber as a way to tout free-market ideals. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick joined then-president-elect Trump’s nascent business advisory council in December 2016, but stepped down less than two months later amid public outcry.

Republican National Committee

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has made 59 payments to Uber since January, for a total of $70,821.96. The RNC’s single largest Uber payment, for $16,000.22, was made on May 10.

RNC spending on Uber rides

By comparison, the RNC spent just $654.36 with Lyft during the same period, spread out over 15 transactions. The largest single payment the RNC made to Lyft, on March 13, came to $103.65.

RNC spending on Lyft rides

Trump 2020

Trump’s reelection campaign, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., made 432 payments to Uber for a total of $6,539.03 between January and now. It has made 1,885 payments to Uber since Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, for a total of $50,317.15.

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Conversely, the Trump 2020 campaign spent $0 with Lyft over the past three months, and just $58.80 on three Lyft rides during the past three years.

Trump Lyft spending

Democratic candidates

Spending by some, but not all, Democratic presidential contenders shows an apparent preference for Lyft.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has made six payments to Lyft this quarter, for a total of $921.90. He paid Uber $838.33 during the same period, according to updates the campaign recently made to its FEC filings.

Sen. Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, plays both sides. He has made 24 payments for rides with Lyft for a total of $534.08, but has taken almost as many rides with Uber—21 in all, for $475.26.

Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, has made his preferences clear. The South Bend mayor dropped $616.93 on Uber rides since January. However, per FEC filings, he has never spent a penny with Lyft.

Buttigieg Lyft spending