In an era when politicians must master Snapchat and mimic the lingo of Broad City on Twitter, it was only a matter of time before grassroots campaigning seeped into a digital platform built purely for sex. Now, Tinder users who “feel the Bern” are maxing out their right swipes to canvass their matches on the upcoming presidential election and get them to sign up for text updates on the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Buzzfeed reports that Tinder has blocked one New Jersey 23-year-old, Robyn Gedrich, from using the app after several users reported her for spamming them with the same request: “Do you feel the bern? Please text WORK to 82623 for me. Thanks!” She sent that message to dozens of matches each day for two weeks straight. Gedrich started her tack after becoming disillusioned by the men she matched with on the app. She decided, without any directive from the Sanders campaign, to try her hand at political persuasion instead. “These guys are disgusting. They’re just looking for sex and that’s it,” she told Buzzfeed. “So if they’re going to swipe right, they might as well do some good and donate to the man, the myth, the legend: Bernie.”
Tinder locked another young woman, married Iowan Haley Lent, out of the app for using it as a campaigning tool. Lent told Reuters she paid for Tinder’s premium privileges so she could change her location to New Hampshire and match with potential voters there. One man from California told the BBC that the tactic stemmed from a feeling that Sanders wasn’t getting enough mainstream press to reach young voters.
These renegade Sanders swipers have gathered in a Facebook group, Bernie Sanders’ Dank Tinder Convos, to share screenshots of their text conversations with matches. With encouraging comments and plenty of ridicule for Tinder matches who respond to Berners with Trump talking points, it’s become a kind of support group for people who use the dating app to canvass singles in their area. “Let’s take over Tinder with Bernie Sanders convos,” the group’s mission reads. The screenshots show a lot of backlash from unwilling marks: One calls a Berner a “feminist cunt ass bitch,” another says “Donald Trump or die cunt, now eat my butt,” and several start their conversations with requests for blow jobs. It’s making the Facebook group a kind of consciousness-raising space around the absolute garbage men fling at women on Tinder.
“While I find it pretty hilarious to see women/men campaigning through Tinder, it is also massively sad to see how desperate/horny most guys are on Tinder,” one man posted on the group’s wall. “Holy shit, I was completely unaware.”
Then there’s the woman who posted a screenshot of her Tinder profile, which shows a pair of naked breasts with a translucent rendering of Sanders’ face layered over her areolae and nipples. “Free the nipple/feel the Bern!” one group member commented. Another responded with a few dozen instances of the word fap. “No, that is not what we’re doing here,” a woman told the fapper, “unless you’re jerking off to the thought of Bernie as potus.” At the intersection of Tinder and campaign comms, that’s a perfectly logical objective.