The rise of the Trumpian suite of online platforms meant to mirror popular sites such as YouTube and Twitter but with far less (or pro alt-right) content moderation tools now has its answer to Tinder: The Right Stuff.
The camp that constantly whines about the concept of “safe spaces” is now setting up its own invite-only dating app specifically aimed at conservative singles. It isn’t a new concept. A number of conservative-focused dating apps have existed over the years, including the humorously named TrumpSingles.com. But what sets The Right Stuff apart from those is who is behind it and the asinine yet completely expected way it was introduced to the public last week.
In a YouTube video unveiling the app, Ryann McEnany, sister of former Trump White House press secretary turned Fox News talking head Kayleigh McEnany, runs through a laundry list of phrases and app features tailored to flame the Libs who have made more established dating apps so hard for Trumpers to find love.
“We’re sorry you’ve had to endure years of bad dates and wasted time with people that don’t see the world our way, the right way,” McEnany said.
The most laughable example deals with gender identity. McEnany touts that The Right Stuff users create profiles with “no pronouns necessary” shortly after saying that the only two gender options on the platform are “ladies and gentlemen.”
The app’s UI looks very similar to Tinder or Bumble, and it includes a selection of prompts that McEnany says will “let people know various sides of you” that range from benign (a shower though I recently had) to straight-up Steven Crowder memes and “Favorite Liberal Lie.” The prompts section closely resembles the questions users can answer on sites like OkCupid, outside of the “Change My Mind” option.
This whole ordeal is the work of two former Trump administration officials, John McEntee and Daniel Huff, with former Facebook and PayPal executive and recent conservative congressional candidate bankroller Peter Thiel providing $1.5 million in funding, according to Axios.
Slated for a September launch, The Right Stuff feels like little more than a heavy-handed and branded phrase-laden response to widely used dating apps becoming more LGBTQ friendly and widening gender representation. The app’s website further highlights this by describing what it offers as “traditional.”
That “traditional” moniker takes on a different context though when looking at the app’s first slate of advertising. Marketing images of users shown in the McEnany video and on the app’s website almost exclusively feature white people, with the lone Black purported user being saved for a collage of male users on the website.
The membership structure also points to the app’s desire to make onboarding women easier in a political ecosystem that skews more male. The app says it will be free to use, but it will include a premium subscription (the app currently doesn’t provide details about what features will be behind the paywall). Men using the app will have to pay for access to the premium subscription, but women can get free access to premium features by “simply inviting a couple of friends” to join the app.
It remains to be seen if The Right Stuff will catch on with conservative singles, especially as conservative-specific dating sites don’t have the best track record with longevity. For now, though, The Right Stuff has provided plenty of laughs for the people it is trying its hardest to trigger.