Emily Moreno is on a mission: to “make America date again.”
Last October, the 20something entrepreneur launched Donald Daters, a dating app designed to help Trump supporters connect romantically “without bias, judgment, or liberal intolerance.” In the four months since the app first launched, it has had 25,000 downloads.
Emily Moreno“I was reading articles [in which] Trump supporters were saying they couldn’t get a date in DC, and my friends were complaining about the same thing. On Tinder, you see statements like, ‘If you voted for Trump, swipe left,’” shares Moreno of her initial inspiration. “I wanted to create a platform where people could go and know that they won't be sworn off because of their political beliefs."
Moreno’s own experiences with online dating were somewhat short-lived, but in line with what she says other conservatives have experienced. She went on one date after signing up for Bumble, which ended shortly after it began.
“When he asked what I do, I told him I was working on Senator [Ron] Johnson’s reelection campaign,” says Moreno, who was living in Wisconsin at the time. “He went off on a diatribe asking how I could be a Hispanic woman and support Trump; the drinks came and he was already out the door.”
Moreno believes her experience is representative of many singles on the right, and that Donald Daters provides the necessary outlet for them to meet like-minded matches. "[Donald Daters] was something for which I saw a real need, and the number of people who’ve been drawn to the app have proven my thesis that this was something missing out there,” says Moreno.
Though there are a few other dating websites for Trump supporters, Moreno differentiates Donald Daters by the fact that its platform is app-based instead of web-based. All members are sent 25 curated matches each day, and premium members can message anyone of their choice (not just matches). Moreno also strives to instill a sense of community with social media-esque activity feeds for users to connect in a different way.
A lifelong conservative, Moreno is the daughter of Bernie Moreno, whose name has become synonymous with the blockchain movement in Cleveland. “When I was growing up, instead of watching Lizzie McGuire, I used to ask my parents to turn on Bill O’Reilly,” laughs Moreno, a 2015 graduate of Elon University.
The Cleveland native now lives in Washington, D.C. where she holds a full-time job in public affairs and runs Donald Daters as her “side hustle passion project.” In the past, she has worked on campaigns for Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, and Ron Johnson.
Though Moreno lives elsewhere, the Donald Daters operations are based in Cleveland with a small team of developers, coders, and customer service reps. Moreno credits that team with course-correcting a data leak that overshadowed the site’s launch and dominated its early media coverage.
“Within the first 24 hours [of going live], a security expert was able to access parts of our app; luckily, since it was within the first 24 hours, there wasn’t much to grab,” explains Moreno. “Our Cleveland team was able to address the problem within a few hours, even getting a shout-out from that same security expert on Twitter. We were able to correct the problem and haven’t had any issues since.”
As for whether a concept like this further creates a divide between liberals and conservatives, Moreno says everyone—including open-minded Democrats—is welcome to use Donald Daters. She sees the website as not unlike JDate or Christian Mingle in serving a specific niche of singles.
“We’re not trying to create a barrier,” says Moreno. “We would love to participate on mainstream dating apps, but are forced out of that—people literally say on their profiles not to message them if you are a Trump supporter. Until that intolerance on the left goes away, I think we’re here to stay.”