Dating During Election Season: Does Your Tinder Match Have A Hidden Agenda?
It’s the height of efficiency. Campaign while you date. It kills two birds with one stone, making the most of popular dating apps during an intense presidential campaign season.
Perhaps it used to be that talking politics on a dating site would be an instant mood-killer. But not any longer. In fact, it seems to have become common practice for political campaigners to infiltrate dating apps, and if they happen to find love or temporary companionship at the same time, well, all the better.
Political campaigners across the country are using dating apps like Tinder, PlentyofFish, eHarmony and others to convince people to vote for a specific candidate.
And with U.S. presidential elections scheduled for November, candidates are deploying all weapons in their social media arsenal to animate voters — so why not dating apps, too?
For political campaigners, there are several benefits to spreading messages on dating sites. The biggest one has to do with simple mathematics: They get to address an audience of multiple millions of lonely hearts.
Another major benefit is derived from the fact that young people generally are less likely than older generations to get out the vote. And if not, they tend to be less decisive, which makes them more vulnerable and easier to sway. For decades, those aged between 24 to 39 have turned out at lower rates than older voters.
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials and Generation Z are projected to make up 37% of voters in the 2020 presidential election and both demographics are largely split along party lines.
Even though political solicitation or advertising is not permitted on dating sites, Tinder, for instance, hasn’t really done much to visibly counter it. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, the company even employed a “swipe the vote” feature to match users with a candidate.
A similar campaign was launched ahead of 2018 midterm elections, with campaign volunteers and supporters, or even candidates themselves, fishing for the voters among the lonely — especially in the swing states.
At that time, Suraj Patel, a Democrat from New York held a night of “Tinderbanking” with his volunteers before the primary. “Hi Sarah. Are you into civic engagement?” he messaged one woman on the app before revealing his identity.
His “Tinder Banking 101” guide encourages volunteers to use a stock photo of a “hottie” and to “keep the mood generally light-hearted and flirty.” However, his tactic failed to make success once the votes were counted.
The phenomenon has actually led to the creation of ideological dating platforms that turn matchmaking into a political love affair.
Bernie Singles, for instance, is a specific dating site for Bernie Sanders supporters.
On Patrio, whose mission is to “bring right-leaning individuals together”, users can select from a list of 16 interests that include faith, free speech, MAGA, build the wall and blue lives matter.
We’ve polarized everything else at this point, so why not romance, too?
However, one member of ConservativesOnly downplayed this polarization by saying that he is just looking for “a woman who is conservative enough to not yell at me in a coffee shop about how I am racist because I voted for Donald Trump”.