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One year after Frito-Lay factory reject Donald Trump descended an escalator to announce his parody presidential candidacy, Americans have somehow managed to love the campaign hard enough to make it Real. And between the half-ish of America that’s gleeful about this and the half-ish that can’t believe it’s actually happening, there’s money to be made!
At least, that’s the hope of Trumpsingles.com, a new dating site for Trump aficionados only.
The site entered the public consciousness last week, when founder David Goss went on Fox and Friends to spread the word about a site for “fun-loving people” who share the same views and aren’t willing to compromise them by pursuing relationships with Trump opponents. Within a day of the site launching, 6,000 people had signed up.
Certainly, Trump’s popularity is great enough that his supporters could find each other on mainstream dating sites like Tinder, Match.com, or Plenty of Fish, but TrumpSingles isn’t as much about finding each other as about not finding anybody else.
In his Fox News appearance, Goss said it was tough dating as a Trump supporter, because “people who aren’t fans of Trump” tend to look down on Trump fans and “call us names.”
That’s a point Goss reiterated to the Daily Dot via email.
“As long as Trump supporters are being attacked the way they are, we are going to provide a service where they know they can go on a date and enjoy the other person’s company without the fear of being attacked verbally or physically, and find someone with whom they share the same ideals,” he wrote.
In what we can all agree is an age of political division—although Goss feels “there are more tolerant people today than there were in the ’60s”—one of TrumpSingles’ main concerns seems to be protection for the vulnerable. By which they mean: protecting Trump supporters from their liberal detractors.
“When people attack each other because of their political views it undermines democracy and free thought, which are two of the biggest things being in a free country has provided,” Goss told the Daily Dot.
Asked whether he feels politically segregated dating sites (Berniesingles.com also exists, by the way) might drive an ideologically divided populous further apart, Goss said he felt like his site would have the opposite effect.
“We are not driving people further apart, we are bringing people together to show them that they are not alone in their way of thinking,” he said. “Trumpsingles.com does not preach hate against other candidates supporters… We want people to be able to get along and have peaceful debates where people can shake hands at the end and be understanding of each other’s differences.”
Sounds nice in theory, but is that how things go on Trumpsingles in practice? The Daily Dot’s April Siese investigated.
As I’ve detailed throughout the course of traveling the world and Tindering, online dating is its own fraught experience. Take away the accessibility of a smartphone app, retrofit your desires to the tight confines of a Myspace coder given their first Geocities domain, and you’ve got TrumpSingles.
A buggy interface with repeating, vague error messages turned my casual stroll through the Trumpservative meat market into an ill-fated master class in charcuterie. There’s simply no way to browse TrumpSingles without signing up. And, despite the site’s insistence to the contrary (prior to an error message, of course), there is simply no way to sign up without linking to Facebook.
So, God-given name and all, I formally strolled into the TrumpSingles universe. It bears being mentioning that there’s an aspect of inclusivity I wasn’t initially expecting when filling out the straightforward dating profile form. Options were plentiful in the drinking and smoking categories. Plus-size dimensions were body-positively referred to as “big and lovely.” Perhaps Goss was onto something when highlighting the unifying aspects of strong convictions and a shared love of the man who embodies them?
Judging by the profiles of fellow singles, not necessarily. Sure, other digital dating services include hyper-specific descriptors and specifiers. Sometimes they’re caked in the innocuous varnish of personal preference obscured by algorithm. Other times, the discrimination is just as overt as on TrumpSingles. The presumptive GOP nominee’s candidacy has been nothing if not controversial—much like his supporters.
By filling out my TrumpSingles dating profile in a way that honestly highlighted who I am as a person, (a female minority, bisexual) I feared I’d be opening myself up to explicit attacks. This is where the fallibility of the site shockingly succeeded. It’s impossible to view another person’s profile without purchasing a membership, starting at $5 for a month and $25 for half a year.
Those who bask in the scant free credits handed out for signing up are just a message or two away from being unable to do much of anything. For the first time in my professional life, I expensed a dating website. Access is key and a month of this website would surely set me right. The payments are recurring, so for the love of god, someone please remind me mid-June to swipe left on TrumpSingles.
My membership also marked the first purchase I’ve ever made that can legitimately be construed as forgettable. Over the course of my first 24 hours TrumpSingles thrill ride, I received just one message after “winking” at my potential partner, which he lovingly accepted.
My coworkers had the brilliant idea of having me change my name to Verminous Skumm, the name of a Captain Planet villain voiced by Jeff Goldblum, on afternoon two of using TrumpSingles. Plenty of faux names permeated throughout the site, and it’s not like “April Siese” was doing all that hot. The only real action I’d gotten on the site was a laugh at the poorly laid-out photo section that cascaded through every single upload, with little care for context.
Additional unintentionally humorous features include a dashboard widget known as “the hot list.” It’s literally just a list you can manually add yourself to if you think you’re especially attractive, which could flimsily be construed as empowering. Naturally, I added myself to that number, hoping for a few good singles.
And boy did I get matches. By building a site in which all members are supporter of the Donald, Goss unwittingly created an overcrowded love fest—a TrumpSingles orgy, minus the action—that garnered me hundreds of matches, all with 100 percent compatibility.
No matter their pleas for “protecting our white children,” desires to prevent women from voting, or demands that their lady have a class A firearm license, the fact that I signed up for the site meant that I fit the bill to be the girl of their dreams: all 1,018 of them, as of this writing.
A quick search of women within 90 miles of New Orleans yielded me one match. The rest were men, or at least identified as such.
Of the hundreds of profiles I browsed, just one overtly stated that they were in it for the lulz. A startling amount of sincerity permeated throughout TrumpSingles, encompassing a collective sigh of relief that perhaps, finally, those on the site would be one step closer to finding the one who understands them, willing to go HAM on MAGA.
Finding love in a partisan place proved to be just as difficult as defending the Donald’s tiny hands from the tale of the (measuring) tape. Goss’ desire to build a wall between TrumpSingles and the rest of the dating world has merely trapped supporters in an echo chamber. As with every Trump rally, primary and caucus celebration—hell, even across the dinner table at a potluck—it’s impossible to parse the cacophony. It’s a dating site about convictions that’s thoroughly devoid of meaning. Sad!
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.