So you’re “feeling the Bern”?
Now, thanks to a new dating website that connects fans of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, you can also find love.
Arizona State University political science major Colten Caudle created the website, called Berniesingles.com, to make sure, he writes, “the 1% aren’t the only ones getting screwed this election season.”
Caudle could not be reached for this article because — get this — he is in Oregon taking a woman he met on Berniesingles.com out on a date. But Joshua Kaunert, the site's public-relations manager, filled in New Times on the details.
The idea for the website started out as a joke, Kaunert said. Caudle noticed a lot of flirting on Facebook fan pages for the Vermont U.S. senator, such as Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash and Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles, and suggested someone make a website to speed up matches.
Things got real pretty quickly, though. In the first 12 hours after launch, more than 1 million people viewed Berniesingles.com and more than 4,000 people signed up. Now, three weeks later, more than 15,000 people have posted profiles.
Most users, who hail from all over the world, fall into the 18 to 34 demographic, which is unsurprising considering Sanders’ popularity with millenials (close to 60 percent of young Democrats prefer Sanders, compared to just 35 percent of those over 35).
"It's the greatest thing for people who live in a small town who don't have an outlet to talk about their progressive beliefs without being looked down upon," Kaunert said. "Now they're able to connect with people all over who are politically aligned."
One user, a 28-year-old brunette who identifies herself as SJ, explained in her “About Me” section that she signed up for the dating platform because “it’s hard to find guys in AZ [who] don’t have 20 guns and don’t think homosexuality is a sin. So I thought maybe I would give this a try.”
Following highlights from her resume (master’s degree in biomedical engineering, “great” career in the medical-device industry) and a rundown of her hobbies (hiking, training for triathlons, lifting weights at the gym, martial arts), she declares that she is “currently trying to convince everyone I know to vote for Bernie.”
An 18-year-old man declared: “I like movies and science and equality.” A 17-year-old girl: “Lover of dessert and fashion design. Activities include dance and feeling the Bern.”
Rachel Hollingshead, a 19-year-old from Chandler, kept her profile basic: a duck-face selfie with lots of cleavage and a seemingly appropriate line from a One Direction song: “Cuz I’m Bernin’ up, Bernin’ up for you, baby.”
Underneath a photo of himself wearing heart-shaped glasses, a 21-year-old man who nicknamed himself “The Benny Sanders” wrote: “I love Bernie and hope you can love me too. No one should feel the Bern alone.”
The website already has turned out a number of success stories, Kaunert said. (It's not just Caudle.)
One woman reported going on "the best second date of her life," he said, when her date arranged a private viewing of the Democratic debate at a sports bar.
"That's pretty romantic stuff if you support Bernie," Kaunert said.
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The project hasn't been without its challenges.
Kaunert said conservative hackers have started attacking the page, which also features rotating inspirational quotes from Sanders (“A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much and so many have so little.”) and a link to donate money to his campaign. As a result, the website is crashing between five and 10 times per day.
But for the most part, he said, Caudle and the team are "on a high."
An app modeled after Tinder is in the works.