Republicans love to mock people on the political left for supposedly needing “safe spaces” away from the general public, but when it comes to finding love online, they just can’t seem to resist creating their own private alcoves — regardless of how many times the idea has utterly failed over the years.
The latest effort is an app called The Right Stuff, co-founded by a former Trump White House official and funded by far-right billionaire Peter Thiel.
“We’re sorry that you had to endure years of bad dates and wasted time with people who don’t see the world our way — the right way,” a company spokesperson told potential users in a promotional video released Sept. 30.
In an essay for Newsweek, The Right Stuff co-founder John McEntee wrote that it was too difficult to find romantic partners who agreed with him on mainstream dating websites.
“Personally, I have never and would never date anyone who doesn’t share the same political views as me,” McEntee wrote. “When I filtered my settings to include conservative women from the ages of 21-29 ... only a handful of users appeared.”
Despite proclaiming his desire to exclude progressive women from his personal dating pool, McEntee, the former Trump White House personnel director, said that he felt it was unfair that others would do the same to Republicans.
“Often, right-wing people don’t tag themselves as so, because other people may not want to match with them or could be mean-spirited towards them,” he argued.
Wanting to keep out the libs while crying about liberal exclusion is just one commonality that The Right Stuff has with its many predecessors in the reactionary dating space. And as far as the internet goes, it’s actually a pretty old one. As far back as 2006, right-wing radio host Sean Hannity used early dating-website-in-a-can software to power “Hannidate,” a sub-site dedicated to helping his super-fans hook up — once they’d faxed in a legal release form.
Hannidate became defunct more than a decade ago, but you can catch a glimpse of it via the ever-useful Internet Archive. Most of the profiles aren’t accessible, but the site’s homepage regularly touted a “featured profile” of what seems to have been an overwhelmingly male user demographic.
While targeted at Hannity listeners, anyone was able to sign up, including people looking for same-sex relationships, something the host said he was aware of in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. While Hannity was fine with lesbian and gay dating, the policy was controversial among some of his fundamentalist Christian fans.
“Why would any professed Christian take such a horrible sin as homosexuality lightly?” David J. Stewart wrote on his website, Jesus-Is-Savior.com. “In this woeful time of apostasy and attack against family values, why would Mr. Hannity even give place to this wickedness.”