Political dating sites offer little worth loving

Natalia Ruiz

Everything is going well on your Tinder date — until she mentions banning immigrants of an entire religion from the United States. Or perhaps you’re tired of going to your favorite artisanal locally sourced kombucha and hemp seed oil cafe and finding out all the cool baristas are feelin’ the Bern. Maybe you’re exhausted by American politics — not enough to resort to escapism, but enough to dream of a nice Canadian who’ll treat you right and never ask your opinion on the birthplace of our president.

Worry no more. Internet savvy heroes who care about you and the frightening possibility that you might have to meet someone outside of your comfort zone (or, God forbid, listen to a differing opinion) have addressed these issues. Now you can skip past talking to supporters who are diametrically opposed to you, and meet potential friends and/or lovers through political dating sites such as BernieSingles, TrumpSingles and MapleMatch.

Curious as to whether these sites were mere jokes or actual platforms for connection, I made a profile on each and scoured the sites for matches. What I found was mildly disappointing but very amusing.

The first site to gain popularity, BernieSingles was launched earlier this year and promises, or perhaps threatens, “The 1% are not the only ones getting screwed this election season.” Despite the fact that Bernie Sanders failed to get the Democratic nomination, the site boasts a community of 13,278 members and counting. It is easily the most developed, with a wide array of subgroups like “Gamers’ Dank Bernie Group” and “LGBTQIA+ Berners” you can join. This is the best of the bunch, but mostly because of novelty.

Unbelievably, very few people seem to take this TrumpSingles seriously. My free account only allows me to view the picture of the 913 matches I’ve made with 100 percent compatibility and send a message a day. I received winks despite having Marilyn Manson as my profile picture, and most of the matches were not listed under real names. This site is best avoided, since the guy named “No really” is probably not going to wink back, and it will cost you five dollars a month to even view profiles. Any amusement derived from the site comes from browsing through hundreds of photos of similar looking men and the odd unflattering action shot of Donald Trump.

MapleMatch was created by an Austinite in order to match Americans to Canadians, so the former can flee the country via green card marriage if Trump wins the election. Although it boasts a waiting list with thousands of people on it, I am not sure this site will actually launch (although its administrators recently announced that they would grant access to a lucky few Americans through a raffle on the Fourth of July). I’m still hoping the site launches so I can find my Justin Trudeau lookalike before November.

All told, these sites are clever — people tend to be attracted to others who hold the same or similar values, and Trump and Sanders represent two extreme and distinct ideologies. That being said, the sites exemplify the double-edged sword of how the internet enables people to curate who and what they expose themselves to. Through the internet, people are more easily able to find others with niche interests — imagine the struggle of a furry trying to find like-minded friends without it.

While it is nice to surround yourself with people on the same page as you politically, doing so encourages a close-minded attitude over time. Common ground can only be found through mingling with people with various takes on a subject. When it comes to media and news, people tend to favor publications with political leanings that match their own. But just because you ignore the other side does not mean it will fade away or change.

The fact that people are voting against a candidate rather than for a candidate indicates that they are likely to judge a prospective romantic interest for holding differing political convictions. If someone is voting for Trump as a means to vote against Clinton, then they are less than likely to date a Clinton supporter. The creator of TrumpSingles claims that he knew of people who were rejected romantically once their partners learned that they supported Trump, and MapleMatch only exists because of the negative feelings people hold towards Trump.

Very few people seem to take these dating sites seriously. But the sites do reflect how people hold biases against others who support candidates that they find repulsive. While there still seems to be an eternity before election day, the end is just over the horizon. In the meantime, there’s no sense in digging even deeper trenches between parties who are supposed to work in conjunction when our next president is elected.

Ruiz is a Plan II and English junior from Houston.