Type of site
|Online dating service|
|Owner||Chase Dimond, Jared Stephens, Michael Wong, and Jill Crosby|
|Created by||Colten Caudle|
|Registration||Required for membership|
|Launched||17 February 2016|
Bernie Singles is an online dating service where members can connect based on a mutual interest in American politician and junior United States senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As of October 8, 2016, it had 20,834 registered users.
The Facebook group Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash inspired a spin-off dating group called Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles. Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles was founded by nonprofit director Beth Hannah, who works for the Human Resource Development Council in Havre, Montana. Members post either Internet memes, personal advertisements, or selfies. Many of its members are vegan. On February 22, 2016, the group had over 9,900 members and a team of 20 administrators.
Arizona State University political science sophomore Colten Caudle from Gilbert, Arizona, was inspired to create a Bernie Sanders-themed website based on Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles. Caudle also credits the group for finding his current wife, Sadie Marie Caudle, a former dog trainer from Portland, Oregon. In an interview with The Huffington Post's Blair Guild, Caudle said "I originally joked about making the site, but after seeing interest, I decided to take on the project."
Caudle bought the domain name for Bernie Singles from Namecheap for $12. Caudle said it took two days to produce and about five days of beta testing before its launch. Previously, Caudle designed the website ProjectProgressive.org to promote progressive political candidates in elections and the United States. Meanwhile, co-founder David Boni owns a web development company called BoldMeta.
The website was founded by Colten Caudle on February 17, 2016. It received 1,000 registered users and one million hits within the first hour. Initial attention crashed the website and an upgrade was required. An online fundraiser via GoFundMe was posted to help with server costs. At the same time, a potential competitor, Bernie People Meet, was launched in an effort to seize the opportunity. After quick negotiations, the two merged resources and fundraising efforts began. The target goal was $1,000 with the stipulation that excess funds would be donated to the Sanders campaign. With the help of a team of volunteers, led by developer  Jeremiah Pegues and former Wikipedia contributor Daniel Isaksen, the site was relaunched four days later. After its launch, Bernie Singles became a trending topic on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter.
The site was acquired in March 2016, less than one month after launch. Chase Dimond, Jared Stephens and Michael Wong acquired the site from the original owners. They are the current owners of the site along with Jill Crosby of Conscious Dating Network.
Membership is free. Registration requires birth date, biography, U.S. state, gender, sexual orientation, and username, as well as uploading a photograph to complete your profile. The website allows users to search for other users based on geographic region, add friends, or join micro-communities such as "Christians for Bernie" or "Musicians for Bernie." Public chat rooms, forums, and private messaging are also featured.
Users can search for matches by age, gender, orientation, location, and political beliefs. So far, the userbase is predominantly "college age" or in the 18 – 35 age range. In an interview with Vermont's alternative newspaper Seven Days, press liaison Joshua Kaunert said the site is most popular with users in red states or U.S. states whose residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party. As of March 8, 2016, about 20 registered users live in Canada.
Bernie Singles' set of rules or "commandments" disallows harassment, nude photography, or invoking the name "Donald Trump", the President of the United States after the 2016 election. The website has a voluntary team of web developers and moderators to ban Internet trolls such as users with names like "Augusto Pinochet" or "Donald Trump".
Complex's Trace William Cowen called Bernie Singles "potentially Tinder-crushing." Bustle's Lea Rose Emery described the site as "incredibly popular." Tech Insider's Leanna Garfield registered an account and overall found it "might not be the most serious of dating sites." KUTV's Lindsey Leake said Bernie Singles is "the latest offbeat dating site to catch the public's eye" besides "quirky." Critical of its Bernie Bro culture, New Statesman's Eleanor Margolis reviewed it as "an exercise in nausea-induced celibacy."
Metro's Ashitha Nagesh called it "great" but lamented there was not an online dating service for British politician Jeremy Corbyn and suggested "CorbynConnection.com." KQED's Emma Silvers has called the website "seems to be shaping up as half-chatroom, half-safe space for people to 'talk Bernie' at each other." Student newspaper The Daily Texan's Reagan Stuart remarked that Bernie Singles "not exactly political activism, it’s not a joke either."
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Caudle can personally attest to the effectiveness of the politically-themed site. He met his fiance, while working on the project.
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- Stuart, Reagan (March 2, 2016). "Bernie Sanders memes inhibit educational election dialogue". The Daily Texan. Texas Student Media. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
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