When David Goss, co-founder of TrumpSingles.com, first started his dating site for supporters of President Donald Trump, he didn’t know how far it would go. But more than a year later, the country is more divided than ever, and the app is thriving. It has gained more than 52,000 members since Trump’s inauguration, according to Goss.
“As mainstream websites go further left, their pool is becoming smaller,” Goss told MarketWatch in 2017. “It is sad to see we are furthering the divide, even in the dating world.”
Another dating app, called DonaldDaters, was launched this month for “like minded supporters of President Trump.”
“Many on the Left chose party over love stopping any date if the other user is a supporter of our president,” the app’s website explains.
Goss, who is married, said he started TrumpSingles.com for similar reasons. His conservative friends in the dating world often run up against clear “no Trump voters” stances on mainstream apps like Tinder. Last February, OkCupid added Trump-related questions to its compatibility survey and found 72% of people thought supporting the president was a deal breaker in relationships. Even eHarmony, which was once known as a more conservative Christian-oriented site, has become more mainstream in recent years. It has the same number of Christian users as non-Christian users, according to its chief executive officer, Grant Langston. But like OkCupid, eHarmony has seen the number of users willing to date people of other political stripes shrink dramatically.
“I think there is some debate as to whether it is even possible, now, to mix people who are passionate about politics and on different sides of the fence,” he said. “Over the last year, our users have gone to great lengths to call out their political stripes in their profiles, and they are doing that as a way of saying, ‘If you don’t agree with me, let’s not communicate.’ So, putting people into one large pool may not be doing much to break down walls among the politically dedicated.”
Regardless of their political views, people are talking about Trump in their online dating profiles, a 2017 study by eHarmony showed, concluding that “politics are on the minds of daters more than ever.” Since July 2016, women’s interest in politics has spiked more than 43% and users who mention Trump in their profiles in any context get 17% of their matches to initiate communication.
Chelsea Reynolds, an assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton, who researches dating behavior, said the fragmentation of online dating markets is a trend that has been building for years. Websites like BlackPeopleMeet, JDate and ChristianMingle make it possible for people in niche communities to date only people who have similar backgrounds to themselves, and even mainstream sites tend to match like-minded people by design.
“Because online dating allows people to sift and sort through their every preference in a mate, it’s not an especially politically diverse medium,” she said. “Just like other social media, dating sites can create echo chambers of political ideology.”
Goss, who said he was raised by a conservative father and liberal mother, wonders whether the U.S. will ever return to a place where people on opposite ends of the political spectrum can find love with one another.
“It’s sad to see people discriminating against others due to their views,” he said. “I always say I would be more than happy to see my site go out of business because Americans have dealt with their differences and come back together.”