Singles App Warfare

Did Valentine’s Day seem to pass almost unnoticed this year? In an environment of (questionably) “impending” war between Ukraine and Russia, inflation crushing the American worker, and trucker protests attracting worldwide media coverage, it had plenty of competition for our attention. 

Yet the news cycle and the oft-maligned, quasi-holiday couldn’t be more closely connected these days, thanks to the politicization of absolutely everything. And we’re still in a time of year known as “cuffing season,” where singles are actively looking to build new relationships. 

If you’ve been in the dating pool any time in, say, the past decade, it’s impossible to miss the sad reality that woke politics has supplanted romance. Can a connection be formed on the basis of shared beliefs alone? Older generations sustained many long marriages with husband and wife holding wildly different viewpoints. 

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to support the same causes and political party, it cannot be the entire basis for a budding relationship. But in today’s twisted clown world, some think otherwise. With 30 percent of U.S. adults having used at least one as of 2021, online dating apps have now become a part of mainstream culture.  

Over the past six years, however, user profiles have become noticeably more political, with a dramatic increase during the 2016 presidential election. At that time, it was relatively common to see female profiles specifying not only that potential connections oppose the candidacy of Donald Trump, but also actively, openly support the Hillary Clinton campaign. This meant outright protesting in the streets, not just voting Democratic.  

Of course, this varies based on where a prospective dater lives, but the largest cluster of available singles nearly always centers around the main city in a metropolitan area. How many are not dominated by liberal voters? 

But it was the COVID-19 era, combined with the 2020 presidential election, that really cemented a politics-first approach to dating. It became routine to see profiles specify “no 45s,” “no QAnon,” “science believers only” (whatever that means), or more specifically, “if you voted for Donald Trump, we are not a match.” 

Though you might occasionally find a conservative counterpart in “no Biden voters, please,” it is far less common. This is more than just an impression, as there is actual data to back up this glaring divergence.  

In a November 2021 Axios survey of 850 college students nationwide, a full 71 percent of Democrats said they absolutely would not go out with someone who voted for the opposing presidential candidate, while only 31 percent of Republican respondents said the same.  

Going further, 37 percent of Democrats wouldn’t even be friends with a GOP voter, while just 5 percent of the more conservative group said the same of leftists. Though the percentages may differ somewhat for older generations, men and women under 35 make up the overwhelming majority of dating app users.  

Rather than encourage people to get along, dating apps cynically exploited this divergence for reasons that are somewhat baffling. It’s hard to understand from a business standpoint, but perhaps easier to see as woke virtue-signaling gone mad.  

With the overwhelming majority of users subscribing to a Match Group app (they own industry behemoths Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid, Hinge, PlentyofFish, and others), the shift toward in-your-face politics was impossible to miss. This was especially apparent during the controversy over COVID-19 vaccines, which have divided many Americans. Match, OKCupid, and others added identifying checkmarks and other indicators to show who had taken them. OKCupid went further, segregating fully vaccinated individuals into their own category called a “stack.” These users continue to be prominently featured ahead of other prospects.  

Bumble, the largest site not owned by Match Group, made a similar move with the addition of a vaccination tag and the continuation of a political identifier in a user’s description. Many of these sites seem to assume their users are all rabid leftists, which is probably mostly true in the urban bubble in which many of their employees reside.  

For the most outrageous examples of ideological bullying, we must return to OKCupid, which has made far-Left politics its apparent trademark. In addition to showing a preference for vaccinated members, it also prioritizes those who declare they are fully “pro-choice.” There is no similar option for those with other viewpoints on abortion. 

Just in case that isn’t quite in-your-face enough, the app once again released its annual cringeworthy set of woke “valentines” to send to friends (or your soon-to-be ex-friends). One features two large individuals with a caption that reads, “you had me at pro-choice.” Another says, “let’s go full vax tonight—and by that I mean do it three times and be really sore afterwards.” Most feature nudity and simulated sex acts.  

If politics are indeed the only criteria for joining together as a couple in 2022, what happens down the road if views begin to diverge? Without a deeper connection, is it merely a surface-level “relationship” held together by the obnoxious times in which we live? Will you ever feel the freedom to hold differing opinions without risking “what we have”?  

If ever there was a road to Hell, this is it. 

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About Brian Maloney

Brian Maloney is the co-founder of the Media Equality Project, a conservative watchdog group. Follow him on Twitter at @SScalpings.

Photo: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images