This New York Democrat is Using Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble to Lure Voters | NTK Network This New York Democrat is Using Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble to Lure Voters

This New York Democrat is Using Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble to Lure Voters

“It’s kinda like catfishing,” the 34-year-old admitted to the New York Times.

By NTK Staff | 06.22.2018 @11:00am
This New York Democrat is Using Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble to Lure Voters

Suraj Patel is mounting an unlikely campaign in the most unusual way. The New Yorker is challenging Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a 13-term incumbent with broad party support.

Patel’s bid is not only a long-shot, it’s politically risky. He told the New York Times that a Democrat political consultant warned him, “You’ll never eat lunch in this town again if you challenge Carolyn Maloney.”

He’s doing it anyway, and he’s using truly millennial methods to do so: dating apps.

According to the Times, Patel’s campaign is run out of a former bar in the East Village. During the reporters’ visit, an aide hands Patel three phones, each logged into the dating app Tinder. From there, Patel begins swiping right “furiously.”

Patel’s not alone though – his staff is doing the same on similar apps like Bumble and Grindr. Most are using pictures of people more attractive than themselves to attract attention:

All around the bar — adorned with blue-velvet booths and a sound system that was playing Kanye West — campaign volunteers, logged onto Tinder, Grindr or Bumble, were doing the same thing. Mr. Patel calls it Tinder banking: Participants set up an account with a picture of an attractive person, usually not themselves, and begin seeking matches. Mr. Patel uses a picture of his brother.

He compared it to the practice of creating a fake online persona to lure someone into a relationship. “It’s kinda like catfishing,” he admitted, “but you are telling people who you are.”

When someone responds, Mr. Patel replies with a political pickup line: “Hi Sarah. Are you into civic engagement?” He soon reveals who he really is.

Patel’s campaign even has a one-pager that explains the practice, which they call “Tinder-banking,” a play on words of the more conventional political outreach technique of phone-banking:

According to the Times, Patel, a 34-year-old hotel executive, has been somewhat successful on the fundraising front, amassing $1.2 million in a few short months. And, outside of his dating app blitz, he’s employing nontraditional methods to reach voters.

…he has been canvassing for votes at yoga studios and printing campaign materials on coffee sleeves and drink coasters across this mostly affluent district that covers much of the east side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

“No bar ever says no to free coasters,” he noted.

Will dating app diplomacy or beer coaster barnstorming deliver a victory for Patel in next week’s Democrat primary? Probably not. But in the meantime, Patel and candidates like him are making establishment Democrats like Maloney take notice.

Sign Up

for NTK updates every week.

View Privacy Policy