In on­line dat­ing, Don­ald Trump is the lat­est way to weed out matches

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By An­gela Hart

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 eflir­t­ex­

“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 55to 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 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,” said Julie Spira, a Los An­ge­les-based on­line dat­ing coach who cre­ated cy­ber­dating­ex­ “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, Calif. 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. 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 onethird 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 starker 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 deal­breaker. That’s been re­placed with pol­i­tics.”

Jose Luis Vil­le­gas, Sacra­mento Bee/TNS

Kristina Mishchuk and Ali Mack­ani, both of Sacra­mento, Calif. en­joy a cock­tail at Para­gary’s. Mishchuk, a con­ser­va­tive, and Mack­ani, a lib­eral, both say pol­i­tics play a role in dat­ing to­day.

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