NexTV Africa & Middle East

Complete News World

The man with the beard never wins

Can a beard be an obstacle to someone who wants to succeed as a politician? Yes, at least if Frank Luntz is to be believed.

During a visit to Washington in the 1990s, I met star Republican strategist Frank Luntz.

His firm has studied the factors that are crucial when two candidates run against each other in the American electoral system. They weighed in on the campaign’s budget, message, gender, ethnic background and a number of other things. It even included the length. There is a saying in the US that the taller candidate always wins.

But they found another factor that has always been decisive.

If one of the candidates has a beard, he always loses.

Now, men’s fashion has changed quite a bit since the ’90s, so it’s probably not an absolute truth anymore. But think about it… have you ever seen an American politician with a beard?

Have you ever seen a Swedish politician with a beard?

And by that I mean between party leaders and people running for office who are public in the same way that politicians do in American personal elections, although we have a very different electoral system.

Yes, he does have a beard, but the Swedish Democrats’ political aesthetic is also very different from other parties

Yes of course you have. Especially after the summer. Then the male politicians almost dutifully make sure to return to the public with a solid tan and a neat beard on holiday.

To celebrate that they are relaxed and ready to take on whatever challenges lie ahead.

Then they shave.

Someone might say Peter Erickson. It was he who was the spokesman for the Green Party between 2002 and 2011. That’s absolutely true. He had a beard. The party was successful during his years as spokesperson. But would it have happened without Maria Wetterstrand, who was the official spokesperson during the same period?

See also  Inger Stojberg after the ruling in the Danish Supreme Court


Jimmy Oakeson? Yes, he does have a beard, but the Swedish Democrats’ political aesthetic is also very different from other parties. Hasn’t its numbers decreased significantly lately?

Johan Pearson then? Well, he went from that beard on vacation to never having shaved it off, and it meshed well with his image of being “the guy in the grill.” But the Liberals are down 3 percent in the polls and I doubt Pearson will win a personal election battle against Magdalena Anderson or Ulf Christerson, for that matter.

I also think of Frank Luntz’s poll when I see the confidence numbers for new Center Party leader Muharrem Demirok. They are at a record low. According to the latest figures from DN/Ipsos, only 3 percent say they trust him. It is the lowest score measured for any party leader since polling began 23 years ago.

I think you have to realize that this is often the case for new party leaders, especially if they represent smaller parties. It takes a few months, sometimes several years, before trust grows. So it was for his actress Annie Love and so was it for Abba Bush.

People eventually learn to identify the person in question. Rhetoric and arguments permeate.

I hope this explains their low numbers.

And I hope Luntz is wrong. Not because I intend to run for anything myself, because I don’t think so, but because Swedish people can’t be so stupid, and democracy can’t be so shallow, that the degree of beard growth determines what we think of a politician?

It would actually be downright tragic.

See also  US HD Abortion Law Doesn't Stop in Texas

Jesper Bengtson, Dagens Arena Editor-in-Chief, wore a beard for seven years.