Can you date across the political aisle?
In the treacherous, amusing and sometimes rewarding world of online dating, Donald Trump has become the newest way to find – or reject – a romantic match.
“Did you vote for or do you support Trump? Then I’m not your man. It would never work,” one user says in the opener to his bio on Tinder, a popular mobile dating platform that boasts 26 million matches per day.
“Trump voters please swipe left, and go to your room and think about what you’ve done,” wrote another Tinder user, referring to the way to dismiss a potential date in the app.
“What I’m looking for . . . well, in this crazy day and age, first and foremost, someone who did not vote for Trump,” says a profile on Bumble, a dating app in which women make the first move.
Since his election, the president has become a new measure of compatibility – much like someone’s age, religion, wanting kids or simply finding things in common. Dating, online and off, is more supercharged with politics than it’s ever been, said online dating experts who specialize in matchmaking.
“His presidency has created this new deal-breaker,” said Laurie Davis Edwards, a relationship coach and founder of the website eflirtexpert.com.
“I’ve never seen it like this before, where people say ‘no’ to Trump supporters, or they only want to date other Trump supporters,” she said. “It tells me that people are valuing politics much higher as a preference than they were before. ... It’s another example of how massively our dating culture has changed over the past four years, partly because of politics and also because of technology.”
Tinder allows people 500 characters to write their profiles. For Bumble, it’s only 300. Since January, many are using that limited space to make it public how much they detest Donald Trump.
“Around the time of the election, we did see some people who would call out that they were Trump supporters, but since then, I don’t know if people necessarily need to say online that they support him – he’s the head of our nation whether you like it or not,” Davis Edwards said. “But I have clients all over the country, and people are saying, ‘If you’re a Trump supporter, swipe left.’ ”
More people are online dating than ever before, according to data collected by the Pew Research Center last year. Fifteen percent of all Americans reported using an online dating site or mobile app, up from 11 percent in 2013, and dating online has nearly tripled since among 18- to 24-year-olds over the same period. It’s doubled for 55- to 64-year-olds, Pew found.
The outsized mention of Trump on dating sites could reflect the growing partisan divide across the country.
In a separate 2016 Pew study on partisanship and political animosity, 55 percent of Democrats said the Republican Party makes them “afraid,” and 49 percent of Republicans said the same thing about the Democratic Party. Those numbers swell to to 70 percent and 62 percent, respectively, for people who vote regularly or are otherwise politically active. It also concluded there’s broad agreement – 70 percent for Democrats and 63 percent for Republicans – that a person’s political beliefs say “a lot about the kind of person they are,” Pew found.
Politics has moved into the bedroom.
Julie Spira, a Los Angeles-based online dating coach
“Politics has moved into the bedroom,” said Julie Spira, a Los Angeles-based online dating coach who created cyberdatingexpert.com. “It’s important to discuss these things before you end up taking your clothes off or before you end up getting deeply involved with someone. People want a partner who is going to support your strong belief about what’s happening with the world.
“It’s a question of values ... think about a woman who walked in the Women’s March and her boyfriend being a Trump supporter,” she added. “That can be very tense. ... I’ve watched relationships break up and marriages fall apart because of Trump.”
The Trump factor appears to transcend gender, age and the political divide in red and blue states, the dating coaches said.
“It’s just that people are so opinionated about him,” Davis Edwards said. “I think that’s true wherever you are, and for both genders. ... If you’re opinionated about him, you’re opinionated about him.”
With some more open about politics in dating, some Trump supporters say they’re less inclined to talk about who they voted for.
“It really does suck,” said Alexandra Gonzalez, 22, who lives in Sacramento and voted for Trump. “It’s something that I don’t necessarily say on a first date or even a second date. ... With such a controversial topic, it’s something that I tend to veer away from.”
Anti-Trump users could be finding fewer matches online.
Match.com analyzed dating activity before and after Trump’s election. It found that during January, typically the most active time for dating platforms, activity declined in the most Democratic counties, while dating activity increased in the most Republican counties.
“Not only are liberals signing up at a lower rate, but they’re also engaging less,” Match said in an email.
Match has a term for this: the “love deficit.” And it’s more significant under Trump than it was during Barack Obama’s presidency.
“Four years ago, after the re-election of President Obama, all areas – blue and red – had an increase in dating activity, showing that the ‘love deficit’ between liberals and conservatives is unique to this election,” Match said.
On the day of the Women’s March, for example, Match saw a nearly one-third drop in new sign-ups by females.
The site’s data also underscores what dating experts are seeing: 60 percent of singles say they are less open to dating across party lines than two years ago. It’s more stark among liberals. Conservatives are 57 percent more likely to date across party lines.
But if you voted for Trump last election, you may have limited your dating pool.
Match found that 91 percent of liberals say they judge potential dates negatively for having voted for Trump, and more than half said they’re more likely to ask about their political views since the election.
“People are so divided in our country right now that they don’t even want to start a relationship with someone who they don’t agree with politically. I’ve never seen it like this, ever,” Spira said. “Being on the same political page is more important to singles now than it has ever been in history. It used to be that dating a smoker was a top deal-breaker. That’s been replaced with politics.”
Angela Hart: 916-326-5528, @ahartreports