Swipe left, swipe right, swipe it all about


Politics ruins everything, part 578. As if there weren’t enough fake profiles on dating apps, whether bots trying to entice the unwary to other sites or sad individuals trying to catfish others, or time-wasters with agendas other than meeting people (e.g. people after break-ups wanting to boost their ego), here come the political campaigns:

When New Yorker Jen Winston connected last month with Spencer from Georgia on Tinder, finding true love wasn’t her priority.

“Why are you so far away from me?” Spencer messaged Ms. Winston on the swipe-based dating app.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” she replied. “Anyway, are you voting for Stacey Abrams?” she asked, referring to the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia.

With the midterms fast approaching, and young people generally less likely than those older to vote, apps and events typically used for finding romance are instead being deployed by those who want to entice their fellow citizens to come to a polling station.

Ms. Winston, a writer and speaker, realized a few weeks ago she could change her location to chat with voters in swing states, even if hers wasn’t the pickup line most expected.

She said she has swiped right and matched with 18 people in states with high-stakes races, including in Nevada, Arizona and North Dakota, as well as Georgia. So far, no romance has blossomed, but “most people have been saying that they’re voting, and that’s exciting,” Ms. Winston said.

Phoenix-area resident Sarah Lasker sought out eligible swing voters on the dating app Bumble, seeking to promote Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s tight race in Arizona against GOP Rep. Martha McSally for an open Senate seat. Some responded appreciatively. Others sent photos of themselves wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, a sign that her attempts to politically woo them weren’t successful.

To quote Trotsky, you might not be interested in politics, but politics is definitely interested in you. As the article explains, “With younger people harder to reach through the traditional methods of landline phones and mail, political strategists are trying to reach the next generation where they are: online and looking for love. Dating apps typically don’t take much time or money, always a boon for campaigns and less-official volunteers.”

This pestilence has not, as far as I’m aware, yet reached the Australian shores. I’m happy to state that I’ve never been encouraged to vote any particular way by my Tinder matches. Some, upon finding out my political persuasion, have considered me to be closely related to Satan; those who persevered nevertheless are now amongst my best friends. Still, for the sake of saving others time and disappointment, I now list my politics in my profile. That way, if someone contacts me to vote for Kyrsten Sinema I can just laugh at them for even suggesting arguably the most disgraceful Senate candidate in these mid-terms.