Politics: The third rail of dating
Democrats and Republicans likely agree that the country is increasingly polarized, that former Presi...
Published on: Mar 6, 2016
Transcripts - Politics: The third rail of dating
Politics: The third rail of dating
Democrats and Republicans likely agree that the country is increasingly polarized, that former
President George Bush failed to live up to his promise to be a uniter, not a divider, and that
President Obama is nowhere near delivering on changing the way Washington works.
The parties would undoubtedly disagree about who bears the lion's share of the blame.
So the country has, for the time being, settled into its separate cultural corners. And that may be
making it difficult for the politically interested to find compatible dates.
"People can't come together in the same way that they used to be able to, so you can't necessarily
date people who have opposite political views because opposite political views turn into opposite
lifestyles, opposite moral views, opposite views of faith," Christopher McAvoy, a self-proclaimed
social conservative with more Democratic-leaning economic views, told CBS News.
And in that void, at least one entrepreneur has found an opportunity. Alex Fondrier is the co-founder
and CEO of Political Matchmakers, the company that launched RedStateDate.com and
BlueStateDate.com. The web ads for the sites play on the culture war stereotypes--"'Bruce is a
conservative.' 'What? No, but he seems so normal!' 'Did you see the gun in his pants?' A Republican
falls into despair after being told that the girl he was hitting off with "spent the last three years
working for Green Peace" and has a "Thanksgiving turkey is made of soy."
Fondrier has set out to solve what he refers to as "the third rail of dating," the idea that politics is a
touchy subject, and for many, a dealbreaker.
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"For those folks who live and breathe politics or read the news all the time...there really wasn't a
venue where you'd be able to meet people and go out on dates with folks who shared your same
political affinities," he told CBS News.
His site prompts users to answer a series of questions about economic, foreign and social poicy
As far as his business is concerned, the solution is separation. "When you come to RedStateDate and
BlueStateDate, you know exactly the types of folks that you're going to end up meeting there," he
Some singletons with strong political leanings showed interest. McAvoy thought RedStateDate
"would be a convenient way that might lead me to a few more conservative-leaning women," though
he ultimately decided there were too few people on the site.
A Democratic dater, David Wojciechowski, also said the site wasn't quite popular enough when he
was on it to beat out free sites like OkCupid.
"I mostly have not had a problem finding like-minded women in DC via OkCupid or other means," he
told CBS News.
Both men were probably on the right track by seeking out politically similar mates. Dr. Helen Fisher,
the chief scientist for Match.com and a biological anthropologist who studies love, told CBS News,
"There's a good deal of data that we're naturally drawn to people who have our same political
values, social values, reproductive values, economic values."
Deborah and Jim Bacigalupo are living proof of the powers of political alignment. They met in 2004
on another dating website, liberalhearts.com. That site had a survey asking which of 25 public
figures daters identified with. Jim's pick - and Deborah's - was Ralph Nader, who was running as an
independent candidate for president that year.
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"She said her interests were fishing and camping and things like that, which I wasn't really
interested in," Jim told CBS News. "But," Jim continued, "I felt I had to reply to someone who also
agreed with Ralph Nader." Deb agreed, "It was Ralph Nader who brought us together."
They've been together ever since.
Match.com's annual Singles in America study found that 75 percent of people do want a partner who
is going to have an opinion on foreign and domestic news and events. But some people may still find
that information is better left for an in-person conversation: Just 45 percent of Match.com's
searchable profiles list their political leanings, and the largest category - nearly a quarter of profiles
- say the user is "middle of the road" politically.
RedStateDate.com and BlueStateDate require a nominal fee to use to exchange messages with
users, which can be a turn off with the wide range of sites and apps that are free these days. David
Wojchiechowski, a Democrat looking for love, said in an email to CBS News that he has "not had a
problem finding like-minded women in DC via OkCupid or other means."
And others found that even with the in-depth quiz, it was still hard to stay within the political
confines of any site.
"I'm a real oddball. Socially I'm a pro-abortion, gay marriage supporting, mildly obnoxious atheist,
but my politics are considered right of center or libertarian on most issues of political economy,"
Alexander Marriott, a onetime RedStateDate user, told CBS News. "You really do end up offending
nearly everyone on some level with views and values like mine. So this niche site is, of course, a
haven for mostly religious conservatives who can no more accept my views on cultural and social
issues than I can accept theirs."
The other way to broaden the pool though, is to consider whether there's much hope for love across
party lines in the style of Democratic and Republican political consultants James Carville and Mary
But Fisher warned this can be a tricky strategy for the long run.
"I study the brain in love, and when you fall madly in love with somebody, a region of the prefrontal
cortex with which you make decisions and which you think begins to shut down. So when you're
madly in love with somebody, political values might not be such a big difference, such a big
"At some point," she noted, "some of that intense romantic love is going to subside, and you're going
to come back to reality."
That's a risk that some, Marriott included, are willing to take.
"I'm no longer using any of these sites and am in a happy relationship with, of all things, a Hillary
Clinton Democrat who I met at the usual place of dating: work," he said.
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