Political campaigns often take on romantic undertones: E-mails to supporters can sound like dinner-date invitations. The media bills crowded GOP debates as political speed-dating. And who could forget the 2014 Rick Scott ad modeled after “Say Yes to the Dress”?
Now add this tactic to the list: Hinder, a voter education campaign cast as a Tinder parody. Instead of getting singles together for hookups, Hinder — launched by “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead and her reproductive rights group Lady Parts Justice — highlights politicians’ views about abortion, birth control and women in general.
Like Tinder, a profile photo appears on the screen, with a short bio describing the politician or candidate’s views. Users can get more information about each person’s policies, voting records or comments. There’s a focus on abortion and birth control, but sexism is also highlighted. For example, Donald Trump’s profile page features his “blood coming out of her whatever” comment about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
The app’s creators prefer that users swipe left on everyone. But if you do swipe right, it’s always a “match,” and you’ll be prodded to donate to LPJ, tweet or Facebook about the app or “keep looking.”
Because the app focuses on birth control and reproductive rights, “Why not ape a traditional hookup app?” Winstead said in an interview with Mother Jones. “People who’d use a hookup app would think it’s fun,” she said, “and then they can understand that if you’re trying to go out and hook up with some people, there are these people who are trying to make it not safe for you to do that. They want to take away all the stuff you probably do responsibly, like making sure that you have birth control, or that if you have an unintended pregnancy you need to terminate for whatever reason, you can.”
At first, Apple rejected the app on the basis that it violated the company’s rule prohibiting “any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way.” However, there’s an exception for comedians or political satirists — Winstead qualifies as both — so the ban was lifted last week.
“Ninety-five percent of the stuff on the app is made up of things politicians believe and have actually said,” Winstead told the Daily Beast.
By mocking a popular dating app, Hinder seems to be targeting unmarried women, who are less likely to vote than married women and more likely to vote Democratic. Still, with any dating app, users can get fooled into thinking: These are the only singles out there?! I give up!
Similarly, the world according to Hinder is one-sided: Here are those limiting reproductive rights across the country; there are no profiles for supporters of Planned Parenthood mixed in, at least that I encountered.
But it’s an interesting use of swipe technology, which is expanding well beyond dating apps. You can fill a wedding registry with left and right swipes. What’s next: an app that helps high school students choose a college based on low rates of sexual assault?