Today’s post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty.
In the history of Presidential elections, there has never been a battle of the beards. Beards have challenged mustaches. Mustaches have challenged clean-shaven candidates. Clean-shaven candidates have challenged beards. But never in the history of our republic, have two bearded candidates duked it out on the campaign trail.
This is startling for many reasons. One, beards are awesome, and have experienced a sort of renaissance as of late. Two, statistically speaking, the beard is more “electable” than a baby face.
Look at the numbers. In Presidential elections, bearded candidates have only faced off (ha!) with clean-shaven candidates in five elections. In three of them—1868, 1872, and 1876—beards took the White House. That means the odds are with you if you run with a beard.
History buffs will be quick to point out that the 1876 beard win was something of a technicality. The oh-so-heavily bearded Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote (Florida was the deciding state), putting his beard in office over the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden. Still, Hayes won, making beards tops in elections.
What’s that mean for 2012? If the parties catch wind of the electability of beards, 2012 could shape up to be a hairy election year indeed.