It’s been almost 60 years since the U.S. had a bald president — a fact that’s making many doubt the viability of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential potential.
He was able to win over many Americans back in 2010 with his vitality, bluntness, and knowledge of rap music. The fact that his childhood sweetheart and wife was a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins didn’t hurt his image, either.
However, the appeal he once had that won him so much support has begun to age in recent years, as evidenced by his thinning, receding hairline. Though it’s only superficial, many suspect that it could be a huge factor if he decides to make a bid for the 2016 presidency.
“Presidents and CEOs tend to present themselves in a particular way. They are taller than average, and they tend to have particular features that suggest authority and virility,” says political scientist Jennifer Gaboury. “So a full head of hair, being clean-shaven, and being tall in this current period suggests a kind of manly command.”
According to men’s hair stylist Elle Medico, it’d be better to go completely bald than it’d is to have a receding hairline, explaining that the problem is how society views a bald man versus a balding man.
“Someone who is balding more than 50 percent of their total hair can look desperate,” said Medico. “It’s clear to everyone else that they’re trying to hide their ever-growing baldness, which shows some form of vanity and fear of change. Or worse — like the person is trying to hide something, and disconnected from reality.”
But what if he were to pursue a hair loss restoration solution? There are several amazing options out there, like scalp pigmentation, which is the process of having a bald area tattooed with tiny dots to simulate the look of a real haircut.
Rubio is only one of a select few Republicans that many consider to be a likely contender for the White House. After a meteoric rise, he became the first ever Latino speaker of the Florida House. Later on in his career, he’d gain political prominence on such as issues as federal spending and immigration.
Despite his previous successes, many still think it’s unclear if he could successfully launch a presidential campaign. According to Politico’s latest polls, he only has six percent support among Republicans across the country. His support is even less than satisfactory in Florida, with a measly 18% according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
To make matters worse for Rubio, a study published in Psychological Science suggests that his hair may actually be more of a significant factor that previously thought. Researchers found that voters are attracted to features associated with societal concepts of beauty — smooth skin, symmetry, full hair — because these traits are linked with good health.
“Our ancestors frequently confronted devastating epidemics that wiped out many of the members of their groups; at such times, having a healthy leader might have been particularly important,” wrote the study’s authors.
It really does seem that Rubio’s presidential prospects are literally as thin as his hair.