Somehow, millennials have a way of making everything that is new new again.
On a macro scale, the gig economy that allows people to make ends meet through a combination of part-time jobs owes its success largely to the prevalence of smart phones. On a micro-level, there’s meme culture, in which mostly comical riffs proliferate social media immediately after something strikes a chord with the (online) collective conscious.
And therein lies one of the pulsing organs driving the frenzied activity of people who were born in the 1980s and ’90s: connectivity. Whether it’s over wi-fi or IRL, the new generation seeks connections and the ability to foster them. Constantly. Endlessly. Like the many permutations of a given meme, if you build the platform, millennials will come.
To wit, Colten Caudle, a 19-year-old political science major and Army ROTC cadet at Arizona State University, has capitalized on the swelling support for Bernie Sanders by creating a dating site for Sanders supporters.
The inspiration for BernieSingles.com came from social media, natch.
“I created the website after seeing interest from a Facebook group called Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles,” Caudle stated via email. “I jokingly made a post about starting a website and, after a lot of positive interest, I decided to take on the project.”
BernieSingles.com launched Tuesday night and received a rather viral reception to the tune of a million-plus hits and about 1,000 users registering in less than an hour, which in turn overloaded the server on which it was hosted. Caudle had hoped to have the site back up by 8 p.m. eastern time Wednesday night, but it remained down as midnight passed and this article posted.
‘Bernie is Bae’
On a cached version of Caudle’s profile page on the dating site, beside a line item that asks users to enter “Why I Love Bernie,” the self-described “progressive humanist” responds in typically millennial fashion: “Bernie is Bae.”
But hold on to your heartstrings if that’s the kind of political prose that revs your engine: Caudle has a girlfriend, Sadie Jensen, and states as much on his profile.
“We did meet thanks to Bernie Sanders,” Jensen said via email. “The website is a great idea because it gives people a better platform to connect with each other and find the happiness we did.”
Believe it or not, a sense of political acuity is actually at the heart of Caudle’s impetus for championing Sanders. When pressed, the Gilbert, Ariz., native has more substantial opinions about his favorite candidate.
“The issues most important to me as a progressive humanist are taking the money out of politics, the separation of church and state, and social justice,” Caudle stated. “I believe Bernie is the only candidate addressing all these issues.”
Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles (BSDMS)
As mentioned above, there was a Sanders-centric Facebook group designed with singles in mind before there was a dating site dedicated to the cause. In the event that BernieSingles.com remains down, however, those who find themselves in that nexus of desperation where politics meets romanticism can take note of this swelling phenomenon.
Like Caudle’s dating site, BSDMS has also been swelling unexpectedly and uncontrollably. A lead admin for the page, Valon Gatz, posted Wednesday afternoon that what started as a “chill” 200-member page had been growing exponentially.
“Currently we are expanding at a rate of 1,000+ members a day,” Gatz posted on the group’s wall. “In response to this we are going to double the number of admins that we have.”
The group’s troubles center on the failure of some members to follow the posted rules, which basically boil down to: no nudes; no spam; SERIOUSLY NO NUDES. Even simpler: “What would Bernie do?” is a suggested catch-all guideline.
Yet, even online (or perhaps because it IS online), Sanders’ would-be champions have trouble creating the ideological utopia so easy to picture in the eyes of his true believers.
In the end, it matters not: Should the senator from Vermont lose in the primary or come November, at least some people will come away with a willing shoulder to cry on.