One of the first political candidates I ever volunteered for was a great guy who was running for county commissioner against an unpopular incumbent. Our candidate ran a great political campaign, raised lots of money and inspired plenty of grassroots support. On election day, though, he ended up losing by just 100 votes . . . out of nearly 100,000 votes cast.
In addition to being intelligent and hard-working, however, this candidate also had another memorable characteristic: a mustache. And while I don’t think his facial hair looked bad, I do think that he would have won the election if he had shaved his mustache off before launching his political campaign.
There’s a simple reason why the vast majority of politicians, elected officials and political candidates don’t have mustaches or beards: because facial hair, for whatever the reason, loses votes for male candidates (and female candidates too, I would imagine).
Yes, there are probably lots of examples of local election candidates who win their campaigns in spite of having mustaches, beards or goatees. But it’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of voters just can’t bring themselves to cast a vote for any candidate with prominent facial hair.
Maybe it’s because voters have grown accustomed to the cliche image of clean-shaven politicians in suits and ties. I’m not going to try and guess why you’re less likely to win a political campaign with a mustache; I’m just letting you know that you’re going to get fewer votes on election day if you don’t shave before hitting the campaign trail.
Does that mean that you should get rid of your mustache or beard if you’ve had it for decades and you want to run for office? No, of course not. Like I said, there are plenty of examples of local election candidates who win their campaigns with facial hair. I’m just saying that you’ll probably get a few more votes without the ‘stash.
I for one hope that voters eventually overcome their aversion to facial hair; I’d love to be able to grow a neat, well-groomed beard and still run for office. There might be a few countries in the world where facial hair helps political candidates get more votes, but the United States isn’t one of them yet.