The Washington Post

The rise of the Ubertarian

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post

It really is the perfect word. “Ubertarian.” The name that blends what is now just a luxury car service with a political party. It’s a monicker that  almost expertly  describes a certain demographic that up until now, everyone could recognize when they saw it, but didn’t have a name for.  So, we all owe a debt of gratitude to City Paper’s Perry Stein for coining this glorious phrase. Her colleague Aaron Weiner took things to the next level, penning a five-point definition of the latest D.C.-subcategory. In it, he writes,

“D.C. is home to a growing and curious breed, progressive young professionals who bemoan the city’s income inequality one instant and approach a black limo the next, asking “Are you my Uber?”; who condemn the government for under-regulating the banks and for over-regulating businesses and developers; who lament the decline of American labor but wish the teachers’ union didn’t have so much power in D.C. schools.”

As unintentionally mocking as his tone on this may be, make no mistake: the Ubertarian crowd is increasingly becoming a driving force of this city. They’re buying houses, not cars, and walking their dogs to their neighborhood bars to drink IPAs and specialty whiskeys. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But as fun as it is to make jokes about it, if this subset decides to become more actively involved in local politics, or, is actively courted by a candidate (Weiner points to David Catania, I’d say Andy Shallal), there could be a dramatic shift in the typical Election Day turnout. It’s a base that most politicians have found difficult to mobilize, but if and when it happens, don’t be surprised.

Maybe this all blows over as just another word mishap that we all had fun with for a day or two. But I think we all know that Ubertarians are walking among us, creating unrest among upstanding District citizens, a scourge on our potential future, tearing at the very fabric of our city’s society. Obviously, I’m kidding. Because if you’re reading this, you probably know that in some regards, I’m one too.

One day, Ubertarians might be more than just an ironic t-shirt waiting to happen. They might take over the world.


Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.



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