'Tinder for voting' helps undecided voters pick a candidate to commit to
Let's say there's a rifle to your head and you have to fuck a presidential candidate. Who would you rather? Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Or would you add a third (party) to the all-American gangbang, maybe let Gary Johnson pack the bong while Jill Stein dims the lights?
"This is an awkward question," replies Hunter Scarborough, a Los Angeles tech entrepreneur. "I have a thing for blondes, so I'll go with Hillary. But I'm kind of grimacing right now."
That rough choice is basically the situation a lot of us are in this November 8. Because picking a president really, truly is like choosing a romantic partner: they're in your living room all the time, what they do affects you, you're stuck with them for years, divorce is painful, and they're constantly bombing Pakistan (Ok, maybe there are some differences).
Many of us still don't know who to go with, especially since this election is full of more disgusting people than a 4 a.m. bar at the end of an Alabama Mardi Gras. That's why Scarborough and his team developed Voter. It's an app that closely resembles Tinder, only instead of choosing who you want to meet at a bar and be disappointed in for one night, you're choosing the politician you'll be disappointed in for four years.
Try the app. It's fun. Instead of pictures of fuckable people near you, Voter pops up cards about the issues: the border fence, abortion, taxes on the rich. You swipe right to "like" the issue, left to "nope." At the end of 10 or so questions, it tells you who you should cast your vote for.
You can also dive deeper, and answer questions on more obscure issues like birthright citizenship or prosecuting Edward Snowden. And the app lets you click through to read more, rank how important an issue is to you, and even register to vote.
It's a fascinating app. One of the things it taught me is that my friends suck at voting. I handed off the Voter app to a half-dozen. Before they used it, most assumed they were voting Clinton. Two didn't know. One said "It's like choosing between a clogged up toilet and a bowl of throw-up spaghetti." But after swiping left and right on ten key questions, the app told four of them their beliefs weren't democratic, but libertarian.
I can't talk; the Voter app told me I messed up my vote, too. A week ago, I mailed in my ballot, choosing Gary Johnson for president. After all, I'm anti-war and anti-drug war, and the Libertarians are great on those. But the voter app tells me I screwed up: I should've voted for Jill Stein and the Green Party. Green?! Those stinky hippies? I thought that platform was about replacing Obamacare with a regimen of holistic herbs and replacing Senate with a week-long drum circle. It was like believing my whole life that I prefer small, dark, attractive women only to be told by an app that I actually like big hairy Samoan men.
Scarborough says I'm not alone in being confused about my actual preferences. More than any other candidate, people who use the Voter app end up choosing the Green Party and Jill Stein. Here are the results so far, from the million or so times people have run through the issues on the Voter app:
This is shocking to me. But not to Scarborough.
"Even if you have a lot of time and do a lot of research, it's hard to get outside of your own echo chamber and read into a candidate's history," Scarborough said.
Most of the app's users are millennials, so it makes sense they'd lean liberal. But Scarborough has found some surprisingly conservative tendencies among users: 59 percent oppose affirmative action, 60 percent want to call ISIS "radical Islam," 74 percent want voter ID laws and they're split 50-50 on the border wall. Yet less than 20 percent want to (politically) rail Donald Trump.
Voter is another example of how technology, while also fostering soul-crushing banality and Facebook conformity, can also show you who you really are. Voter is a real glimpse into your true political soul, and it only takes eight seconds. That's right: you'll figure out who you're politically compatible with in just eight seconds, which, coincidentally, is how long it takes me to figure out if I'm sexually compatible with a real person.
I probably shouldn't have said that. I'm grimacing right now, too. But now, it's off to the post office, to see if I can retrieve my ballot and scratch out my vote. Voter App 2016!