The U.S.A. has now had 43 Presidents, with #44 being determined later this year. As generations have passed, our nation has collectively decided: The commander-in-chief must be deeply hairy.
It wasn’t always so. Of our first 10 presidents, four had undeniable hair loss: John Adams, his son John Quincy, Martin Van Buren and John Tyler. (And quite frankly, James Madison was a little iffy.)
But it’s now been nearly 60 years since we’ve elected a bald President… and all Dwight Eisenhower had to do to overcome this stigma was win World War II. (Yes, Gerald Ford was definitely balding, but he was appointed to the vice presidency, only became president after Nixon’s shock resignation, and was defeated when he sought office on his own: Clearly, the American public preferred the luscious flowing tresses of Jimmy Carter circa 1976.)
Facing an opponent as formidable as Hillary Clinton, Sanders has stayed competitive by, well, learning to love what he has.
Even in 2016, the leading contenders for the White House share very little in common besides a whole lotta hair, with Donald Trump in particular boasting a ’do to make the world tremble.
And yet, there is one brave candidate fighting this trend: Bernie Sanders.
Facing an opponent as formidable as Hillary Clinton—whose hairdresser once shot down reports she wore a wig by declaring: “She has the most amazing hair in the world”—Sanders has stayed competitive by, well, learning to love what he has.
It was not always so: Back in August 2015 a controversy ensued when a reporter asked, “Do you think it’s fair that Hillary’s hair gets a lot more scrutiny than yours does?” and Bernie eventually replied, “OK, Ana, I don’t mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, OK? Do you have serious questions?”
Which inspired a backlash against Bernie. (Really.)
Since then, Sanders has learned it’s best to laugh at his locks, telling the crowd at an Iowa rally, “The pundits said: ‘You comb your hair very nicely…’ What can I say? I’m stuck with this.”
It seems to be working, as Sanders dominated Clinton by a staggering 27 points in a recent CNN/WMUR poll in New Hampshire.
That said, it’s still an uphill struggle for Sanders to get the nomination, much less the presidency. Because when this guy…
…won in 1956, he ran against Adlai Stevenson, who looked like this.
And in 1960, this fellow arrived.
Keep combing, Bernie.