Philadelphia singles searching for love on Tinder have had the chance to swipe right when faced with a photo of a certain Medicare-for-All-loving, Larry David doppelgänger presidential candidate.
But they’re not getting a date with Bernie Sanders. Instead, they have a chance to find a soul mate in a Collingswood man who wants to make them Feel the Bern.
On Tinder he calls himself “Daddy Bernie.” And some are liking what they see.
“Hey, Daddy,” wrote 20-year-old Connor. “Can I get some of that socialized health care?”
Alex Scheinberg, 26, is not a senator from Vermont. Or any other state. He actually doesn’t have a job. And he lives in his childhood home. But, Scheinberg said, that gives him more time to mix politics and pleasure in order to promote his favorite candidate in a forum that’s increasingly becoming a venue for political endorsement and engagement.
It started as a joke, and a way to put to use some of his acting skills from Rutgers University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in theater. Scheinberg created the Daddy Bernie Tinder profile in November, using the moniker rapper Cardi B assigned to Sanders when telling people to vote for him in 2016 (Cardi B has continued to push out the vote for Sanders, with his support).
Scheinberg has his Tinder profile set to see all genders and sexual orientations, though he is straight. This way, he said, he can maximize the number of people seeing Sanders’ campaign message. That’s the same reason he swipes right on almost everyone, to reach as many people as possible. (For those who don’t have to experience the horror show that is modern online dating, swiping right on a profile means you’re interested. Swiping left, not so much.)
“If we stand together, believing in justice and human dignity, believing in love and compassion; if we stand together, the future of this country is extraordinary, and there is nothing we will not be able to accomplish,” Scheinberg wrote in Daddy Bernie’s Tinder bio, cribbing straight from Sanders’ speech that launched his 2020 campaign.
“But this isn’t just about Daddy Bernie,” the profile reads. “It is about US. Go to Berniesanders.com and join the movement.”
Soon, Scheinberg began matching with people, mimicking Sanders’ speech patterns, and reminding them of voting registration deadlines.
Unlike previous generations who may have been less enthusiastic to mix politics with dating (or a one-night stand), those in their late teens and early 20s are embracing their political stance on Tinder.
They’re mentioning political figures in their bios, according to Tinder’s annual report, like Democratic presidential candidates including Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden. Bios also referenced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Mueller, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Generation Z, ages 18 to 24 on the app, is also more likely than millennials to have Tinder bios that note causes, according to the report. Top phrases last year include “climate change,” “social justice,” “the environment,” and “gun control.”
This young generation of voters propelled Sanders’ 2016 campaign. Scheinberg knows that in order for his favored candidate to get the Democratic nomination, he needs their support again.
Sanders supporters took to Tinder before, accumulating matches and attempting to convince strangers to become Bernie Bros. This was so widespread in 2016 that a Tumblr account called Tinder Campaigning popped up with screenshots of conversations of a Bernie supporter asking matches if they were willing to talk about “our savior Bernie Sanders."
But these people were using photos of themselves, swiping right under the pretense of wanting to flirt, meet up, hook up, or whatever people do with Tinder matches. At the time, Reuters reported that two women, one from New Jersey and one from Iowa, said Tinder locked their accounts after they were repeatedly reported for sending Bernie Sanders campaigning messages to matches.
Scheinberg is different. He’s using photos of Bernie Sanders, not himself, and because of that, people swiping right know they are getting a parody Sanders account.
Still, a Tinder spokesperson said this profile would be considered impersonation, which violates community guidelines. People won’t be finding the real Bernie Sanders on dating apps. A Sanders aide confirmed in an email that “Senator Sanders is happily married and not on Tinder.” The campaign declined to further comment on Scheinberg’s profile.
Daddy Bernie recently sent a GIF of the candidate saying “HELLO!” to a match, Sammy, 25, who identifies as queer.
Sammy replied: “I just donated to the campaign yesterday! Thanks for doing the creative campaign work!!”
Daddy Bernie also matched with Asha, 18, whose bio says “i can be your good time or your long time" and posed a pressing question, one which he said “the corporate media” would not ask her: “are you willing to go all the way with Daddy Bernie?”
He continued: “Are you willing to tell all of your friends, your family, your neighbors, people you don’t know, that you are with daddy Bernie?”
“And when the time comes, are you willing to pull the lever and go downballot on daddy Bernie?”
Asha responded: “i am willing to go all the way with daddy bernie 😌”
Before long, though, Daddy Bernie cut to the chase: "As you may know," he wrote, "I am running for president of the United States."
“But my true passion, and why I am on Tinder tonight, is to talk to hot young singles.”
Daddy Bernie has done a lot of talking with singles but hasn’t met up with any, except for this reporter who saw his profile, and swiped right for journalism.
He insists he isn’t necessarily trying to find dates, though he wouldn’t mind if that happened. He’s focused on his graduate school applications and figuring out if he would like to study linguistics, applied linguistics, or journalism.
Maybe, his acceptance and Bernie in the White House would give him more time for a dating life.