As a poor college student, I can’t afford sites like Match or eHarmony, which can cost up to $42 and $60 a month, respectively. Fortunately for me, this crazy campaign season has spawned a slew of free dating sites that cater not only to political affiliations, but in support of (or revulsion to) specific candidates.
While many received media attention, no reporters I’ve seen have taken the plunge and offered an inside look. So I decided to find the five most prominent, free political dating sites to see if there was any merit in the idea…
While some proved to be average (TrumpSingles.org and BernieSingles.com), others were barely functioning (MapleMatch and LibertarianPassions), and one featured almost impressively creepy members (I’m talking to you, “baby girl” on TrumpSingles.com), none failed to amuse. Here’s what I experienced…
Homepage of Maple Match
#MapleMatch – Site score: 0 out of 5
Even though Maple Match had been featured in over 200 publications from NBC News, to TIME, to the Huffington Post, there is quite literally nothing to the site. While you are able to sign up to be put on a waiting list, it’s just a home page.
Worst part(s): Little communication
I received an email on May 17 asking what kind of member I’d like to be. After clicking “single and ready to mingle,” it took me to a “thank you” page that told me to look out for more emails. Since then, I’ve received two emails from the site, neither of which offered any information on how the website was actually coming along.
I tried to reach out to Maple Match on May 19 for details on a possible timeline, the demographics of those who had signed up so far, if Canadians were signing up in proportion to Americans… anything. I tried again on June 2, and then a third time on June 15. I’ve heard nothing, even though they post to social media frequently.
It’s hard to feel confidence in a site that’s not quite real.
Best Part(s): Potential of a launch
Maple Match’s Instagram account
Many have written it off as a joke, but it could still happen. A mass email was sent out on June 23 advertising shirts that they have for sale. For those willing to shell out $25, you will be one of the first to test out the Community Beta Launch (which is still pretty suspect since it’s not a running dating site).
Maple Match Merchandise on sale for $24.99
In addition, the developers have been posting almost daily on the site’s Twitter and Instagram pages and had been doing so even before they were featured on an international platform. That they’re still doing it may hint at a possible development in the works.
I’m still unsure this site will actually happen. And the whole idea of a website meant to garner green cards still seems sketchy. But who knows? Maybe Maple Match will make a surprising meteoric rise in the dating scene. Stranger things have happened, like Donald Trump winning the Republican primary.
Homepage of BernieSingles
#FeelTheBern – Site score: 3 out of 5
The signup was easy, and while your profile contains standard questions like whether or not you have kids and what your religion is, it doesn’t feel like a dating site. That being said, I’m sure if you made a concerted effort to reach out to members, you could find someone.
Worst part(s): Too much work, and yet, too little
You have to actively seek out members in the community to interact with, and there are no prompts to facilitate interactions with other members. You can’t send a heart (or maybe a bald eagle) to other singles if you think they’re cute.
Unlike traditional dating sites, you aren’t made to answer any questions that would indicate whether or not someone is compatible with you. The profile is very basic. Nothing that asked whether or not you think capital punishment is okay — or even more crucial, whether you’re a cat or dog person.
Because I knew very little about those on the site and they knew very little about me, I didn’t communicate very much with members. I did receive messages from a 38-year-old Idaho resident who sent me multiple questions regarding my income.
He’d ask me questions like: What do you do for a living? Do you have a job at the moment? Where do you see your career going in the future? All while showering me with compliments about how beautiful I was — even though I didn’t have a photo up at the time. If my intuition is any good, I’d say he was one of those Ghanian catfishers who scam 65-year-old women out of their retirement funds on Dr. Phil.
Best part(s): The people and the feel
The design is pretty clean. The few members I did talk to were mostly pleasant. It functions more as a forum for like-minded people to network. When you enter any of the groups, people aren’t really focused on trying to hook up. They’re posing questions and discussing beliefs.
BernieSingles Groups Page
I felt no Fourth of July worthy fireworks with anyone on this site, but it was overall a pleasant experience. While I wouldn’t put all my hopes into finding a potential spouse on here, the vibe is very relaxed and comfortable for anyone looking to network.
#HillaryForAmerica – Site score: N/A
Being a Hillary supporter obviously doesn’t translate into having a vibrant dating life. Even with an insane amount of Googling, I could not find a dating site for Hillary Clinton. There are dating sites that have a Clinton section, but unlike the other candidates there doesn’t seem to be one just for her supporters.
Worst part(s): N/A …
Best part(s): N/A …
Okay, so technically this doesn’t count since there really is no website for Clinton specifically. But hey, Trump might argue that there’s already one in the form of AshleyMadison.com.
Homepage of TrumpSingles.com
#MakeAmericaGreatAgain – Site score:
3.5 out of 5 1 out of 5
Despite some questionable members, I initially thought this website was the most “successful” as a dating site. However, after The New York Post wrote about Trump Singles, the creator got a little too happy-go-lucky with the restrictions — obviously spotting an opportunity to cash in.
Worst part(s): The actual members
It’s common knowledge that you encounter weirdos on dating sites, especially the free ones. But nothing could prepare me for the onslaught of strangeness I received on the Trump Singles site.
Don’t get me wrong, not all of the guys on there were questionable. Some seemed like really nice, normal dudes. However, those that were a bit on the crazy side kind of ruined it for the rest of them.
Unsolicited message from a member on TrumpSingles.com
Compatibility, beyond being a Trump supporter and within the age range I set, was questionable. And by questionable I mean nonexistent.
My first “100% match” was a self-proclaimed supporter of social Darwinism and believed the weak in our society should be weeded out.
The second was an avid practitioner in Odinism, a charmingly racist offshoot of Germanic heathenism.
The third? Well, he was pretty normal — except for the fact that he enjoyed dressing up like a baby girl and “making love in a forest or public park usually.”
TrumpSingles.com member who enjoys “making love in a forest or public park usually.”
Best part(s): Website set-up
However, what differentiated the site from all of the others I tried out was the filtering ability. Because of that it felt the most like an actual dating site. It was possible to select specific hobbies or characteristics I wanted in a partner. If someone sparked my interest, I was also able to send them a private message or a wink.
Some of the filtering functions on TrumpSingles.com
Members are also given “credits,” which served different functions on the site. You get one credit daily for logging in — and you lose one every time you send a private message.
To get added to the “Hot List” costs a whopping 25 credits. What is the “Hot List,” you might wonder before dropping a month’s worth of credits on it. Well, it’s exactly like the “My Matches” list, except you’re in a separate row above.
If you don’t have enough credits though, you don’t need to worry. One hundred credits only runs you $20. Yep, you declare yourself hot with money — very Trump.
The Hot List
In comparison with the other sites I tested, this one was the best. But then they got extremely miserly with what you could do without paying.
You used to get five daily credits, but now they only give users one per day. Likewise, I got 20 credits when I joined the website, while members registering after June 9th will only receive five. Recent changes have made it to where those with a free membership can no longer send outgoing messages. Or view profiles. Or comment on photos.
You now have to upgrade your membership to VIP status in order to do so. Upgrading will also allow you to send virtual gifts, hide advertisements, comment on photos, and earn a spot on the Hot List. You can get all that for just $4.99 each month, but if you want be economical, you’ll pay only $24.99 for six months — what a steal.
A list of permissions for each membership type also hints that soon, free members won’t be able to upload a photo – a conundrum of sorts, seeing as how a profile picture was a requirement when I initially signed up – or search users.
Basically the only thing you can do for free is read incoming messages. That’s if you’re lucky enough to receive one, seeing as how only 11 people, as of this writing, have upgraded to VIP.
All of these factors led to my demotion of TrumpSingles.com from a 3.5 to a 1. But hey, if you love spending money, having a really shallow dating pool, and men in pink onesies, this site may just be for you.
Homepage on TrumpSingles.org
#MakeAmericaGreatAgain…2.0? – Site score: 3 out of 5
TrumpSingles.org, not to be confused with TrumpSingles.com, is very similar to BernieSingles.com. Like, weirdly similar. Like, I-think-it-was-created-by-the-same-people-as-a-joke similar. So essentially it is a step above a forum, and features no real functions that make it feel like a dating site. Dating is possible, you’d just have to be really proactive.
Similarities between TrumpSingles.org and BernieSingles.com
Worst part(s): Forum feel and typos
You don’t really feel a connection with the other members, and there is no chat section to encourage interactions. Unless you take the initiative to message members with little to no information about them, you wouldn’t speak to anyone.
It was also quite obvious that its possible Sanders site counterpart had received more love. On TrumpSingles, there were a lot of typos and links that redirected the user to unrelated info or had sections that were left incomplete by the makers.
Issues on the bottom of the TrumpSingles.org homepage
Best part(s): Logo, “donations,” and the compatibility test
I really liked the logo. I also found the donation/advice section entertaining, if not a bit shady.
Bottom of homepage on TrumpSingles.org
One thing that amused and confounded me was that you could put your MBTI results on your profile. Don’t know what that is?
Neither did I until I Googled it. The website gives you no information as to what it stands for. It’s an abbreviation for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a psychological test that determines what type of personality you have. There are sixteen possible results, and I am apparently INTJ.
That fact could potentially help me find a compatible partner, if the website gave any information as to which personality types were most compatible with my own, and if I weren’t too lazy to research the other fifteen myself. Shortcomings aside, it was a fun test.
The members weren’t overly aggressive like their brethren at TrumpSingles.com, and the design could’ve been as good had it been completed fully. It’s definitely more like a forum than a dating site, but it may be possible to meet someone on there.
Homepage of LibertarianPassions.com
#LibertarianPassions – Site score: 1 out of 5
This was a strange site filled with strange things. Functionality seems to be more of a sporadic afterthought rather than a rule of thumb. However, if this score was based on pure amusement alone, it would get a 5 out of 5, hands down.
Worst part(s): The website
One thing libertarians are not apparently passionate about is web design. It was easily the most dysfunctional website I’ve ever been on.
While it initially looks very detailed, it’s easy to see that the further you try to go into the site, the less developed it is. There are no real benefits to making a profile because every link is accessible prior to signing up. And many of them lead to a 404 error page, anyway.
None of the chat, IM, webcam, and forum functions work, so there is no way to really communicate with members unless you email them.
Only one thing is working perfectly: the ads, most of which promise to connect users with beautiful Slavic women and solve erectile dysfunction. Just what I need.
Advertisement on LibertarianPassions.com
Best part(s): The website
While the site has some major pitfalls, there are some highlights. The “group section” was definitely notable, if not due to functionality, then because of the sheer awe that accompanied exploring it.
Calling them groups may be a bit of a stretch, since none of them have more than one member. None have been active within the last year, either. But, for instance, there are groups for shared interest in books and video games. Common themes among book groups were Buddhism, Ayn Rand, survival tips, and sexual exploration. Video game groups ranged from Grand Theft Auto 5, to Voodoo Chronicles, to Pac-Man.
Book and video game groups on LibertarianPassions.com
Another gem in the website was the “Make Money” section. It listed multiple ways to earn cash online. While I initially thought it would be a great way to get involved in a shady pyramid scheme, surprisingly, it seems sort of legitimate. It has in-depth information on sites like Review Stream (getting paid for reviews), VG Market (playing pre-released video games), Healthy Wage (money for losing weight), etc.
While I didn’t really understand its connection with dating, perhaps they were listed to promote libertarian ideas on capitalism and free trade.
I had a lot of fun on here, but going on LibertarianPassions.com felt like exploring an abandoned town where all the occupants had been raptured.
There were apparent signs that life had been there, but there was a creepy overwhelming feeling of being alone. There were thousands of users, many of whom had profile pages filled out in great detail, but 95 percent of them hadn’t logged in within the last three months. Design-wise, it felt like whoever created the site had grand plans to make it big but eventually gave up.
Was it amusing? Yes. Was it a place to find a legitimate, emotionally stable partner to share your life with? Well, good luck with that.
United in love, if not in politics
So. Surprisingly enough, I did not find the love of my life on one of these sites. But I did learn something.
While I certainly didn’t click with most of these people in politics — or lifestyle choices in general — I realized that whether they they were liberal…
“We’re all a little weird,” as Robert Fulghum says. “And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love.”