I have a web page analysing the influence of facial hair on the result of US Presidential elections.

I’m glad to see that someone else has done the same research for height and baldness.

In the last twelve elections the shorter candidate has won the popular vote only twice (1972, Nixon beat McGovern; 1976, Carter beat Ford). Bush jr is shorter than Gore but of course also got fewer votes.

There have been only six bald presidents; only five were elected (Ford was not); only one (Eisenhower) was re-elected (running against similarly bald Adlai Stevenson on both occasions); three bald presidents (Adams senior and junior, and Van Buren) were kicked out after their first term, and one (Garfield) was assassinated after only a few months in the job. Of course to complete the picture we’d need to know more about the losing candidates. And wigs.

A response to ‘s post about Reagan:

Oddly enough, Lyndon Johnson’s death is one of the first political events I can remember… (his wife is still alive, though)

I’m sure the coverage will be just as great and respectful upon the deaths of Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush.

I wouldn’t bet on it. Reagan was president for almost as long as the three of them put together. He was also the only one of them to get re-elected. When the time comes for Ford and/or Carter, their presidencies will be much further in the past than Reagan’s; it will be a case of “minor 1970s historical figure is no longer alive”, along the lines that we can expect in Europe for Helmut Schmidt or Edward Heath or James Callaghan. (I suspect most people think the latter three are all dead already, if they think about it at all.)

I have my doubts about the respect that will be shown to Clinton upon his death.

A lot will depend on what he does with the rest of his life. He will have outlived a lot of his critics; he is the youngest ex-president since Theodore Roosevelt. I’ve been looking at my presidential longevity statistics. What’s striking is that most of those who became ex-Presidents at a relatively young age then didn’t live very much longer; Polk, Arthur, Coolidge, Grant, T Roosevelt all dead within ten years. Those who were long-lived often turned out to be evil mavericks like Fillmore and Tyler. But there are a few exceptions, like Taft, or indeed Cleveland who was in his day the youngest ex-president thus far, and he found himself back in office at the following election.

I did not reveal my own feelings because I felt it important to show solidarity in a foreign country.

Funny; when I was that age (which would have been at the same time as you were that age!) I never met any Americans in Europe who admitted to having voted for Reagan. But of course in Western Europe it was a different matter from the Soviet Union.

One thought on “Presidents

  1. Ah, thank you for this post! (Here via Twitter)

    I have a vague feeling that an elected upper chamber is a bad idea, but I hadn’t got around to thinking about why this was so. I broadly agree with you. NB I grew up in Germany, was nice to see that you like its system! I can never tell whether I consider it good because it’s what I know, or because it’s objectively sound…

Comments are closed.