The Washingtonian published a story today on the difficulty some conservatives are having meeting people on dating sites. It seems people in DC are more likely than most places to make their political outlook a deciding factor in whether or not they can date someone.
In a city as overwhelmingly Democratic as DC, the combination of lingering anger over Hillary Clinton‘s loss and President Trump‘s existence makes it tricky for conservatives to date across party lines.
“A lot of times you’ll connect with someone [on an app] and they’ll Google you, find out you worked for Trump’s campaign, and then it’s pretty much all downhill from there,” says a Trump Administration official.
People who work in right-wing media say they don’t have it any better.
“The political divide has gotten so wide that a lot of younger liberals don’t have any interest in meeting conservatives,” says a reporter at a conservative media company. Working for a right-wing publication is such an obstacle to dating in DC, he doesn’t put his employer on any dating apps and avoids talking about it until meeting someone face-to-face, he says.
Another conservative reporter tells the Washingtonian what happened when his date discovered conservative books on a shelf in his home:
He once brought a woman back to his place, and while checking out his bookshelf, she noticed some books by conservative thinkers, he says. “She was like, ‘Oh no. First question: Did you vote for Trump?’,” the reporter says. He told her no, but that he was conservative. “She was like ‘I have to get out of here. I can’t see you,’ and left.”
This strikes me as not-at-all surprising. The Federalist wrote a piece last year about Planned Parenthood teaming up with OKCupid to help people on the dating site identify themselves as abortion supporters (and thereby identify and avoid anyone who might hold a different view). CNN posted a story the same month about dating profiles in Manhattan which asked Trump voters to “swipe left.” And the desire to stay within the progressive bubble isn’t just limited to dating. A survey published in December 2016 found progressives were three times as likely as conservatives to unfriend someone on social media over political differences:
The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI ) found 24 percent of Democrats distanced themselves from people on social media because of a political postings. Nine percent of both Republicans and independents reported doing the same to those in social media circles.
Additionally, 28 percent of liberals surveyed said they removed someone from their social media circle because of the content that person posted, compared with 8 percent of conservatives.
A similar survey back in October 2014 by Pew Research also found progressives more likely to cut ties with people they disagreed with on social media. From the Washington Post:
Consistent liberals were the most likely group to block or unfriend someone because they disagreed with their political postings, with 44 percent saying they had “hidden, blocked, defriended, or stopped following someone” on Facebook due to their political postings. Only roughly one-third (31 percent) of consistent conservatives had done the same — although this might be attributable to lower levels of ideological diversity in their online ecosystem…
Liberals were also more likely to drop a friend in real life over politics. Nearly a quarter, or 24 percent, of consistent liberals told Pew that have stopped talking to or being friends with someone over politics, compared to 16 percent of consistent conservatives.
I’d say the data is in on this question. Progressives are more likely to cut off anyone who doesn’t share their opinions on social media, in the real world, and the combination of the two that is dating by app. I suspect this has something to do with politics being more central to their moral identity. If you believe anyone with a different view can’t possibly be a good person, you avoid them. In the progressive bubble, conservatives represent a kind of impurity, one that must be shunned before it contaminates the environment.