It's that time of year again. Everyone's looking around for love. No one more so than this year's Republican primary voters.
With the "Santorum Sweep" of three caucus states last week, Romney's so-called inevitability has been supplanted with a new 'undeniability' -- that this primary will go on at least through April and perhaps even beyond. But on what basis will they ultimately decide? Will it be the man with money, with values... or the one who promised them the moon?
For many romantics seeking the perfect partner, the Internet is increasingly the most fruitful resource. A plethora of websites have carefully developed and honed algorithms to decipher that most elusive of riddles -- the human heart. They cull from among millions and find you your perfect match. And if their proliferation is any testament, it seems to work.
If only there were such a solution for politics. Surely if a computer can help me find my mate for life, it can get me through the next four to eight years.
I'm not alone in my yearning. Tim O'Reilly, author of Government as a Platform and definer of the term "Gov 2.0," tweeted in December, "We need an OKCupid for candidates." Of all the dating sites out there, OKCupid makes particular sense for a 2.0 political endeavor. It has an easy and addictive Q&A-based survey system, and it is fundamentally data driven.
An OkCupid for political candidates... sounds fabulous, right? Good news: It's not just a pipe dream.
Indeed, as noted in the O"Reilly Radar (in response to the original O'Reilly tweet), FastCompany, TechCocktail and elsewhere... it's already here. In the form of the newcomer political tech startup, ElectNext.
ElectNext works just like a dating site. As a voter, you select the issues that are most important to you, answer a few questions so the site can determine where you stand, and ElectNext matches you to your candidates running for federal office in 2012. And just as OkCupid pioneered "dating with data," it is through leveraging data that ElectNext proposes to help you vote.
"We are the only organization that is collecting and structuring data on your candidates and their issue positions and connecting you to that data with our matching algorithm," says co-founder and CTO Paul Jungwirth. "Ours is the only tool that helps you easily vote your values not just for president, but currently for all three offices at the federal level and soon even beyond." Amazing.
So if you're a voter who's been searching for love in all the wrong places, give yourself a break this Valentine's Day. Just as eHarmony is your go-to to find the perfect dinner date, give ElectNext a try to find your perfect candidate.