Politicians and facial hair
Why Male Politicians Don't Have Facial Hair
Washington CNN Politics tends to be the realm of the clean shaven, but as America has grown more lax about facial hair, scruff has become more acceptable in Washington too. Ted Cruz grew a beard over Thanksgiving! Lawmakers typically sport whiskers after an extended recess. The latest example is Sen. Ted Cruz, who showed up after Thanksgiving with a patchy beard.
Why Beards and Mustaches are Rare for Modern American Politicians
Commentators rightly connected the announcement to the new beard, because it has been more than a century since the presidency of William Howard Taft, the last White House incumbent with facial hair. In fact, ever since the mustachioed Taft completed his term in , just a few years before American women won the right to vote, few U. Currently, fewer than five percent of the members of the U. Congress have beards or mustaches, according to recent estimates. Assessments of appearance are one way voters make guesses about candidates, so it is reasonable to assume that beards and mustaches could influence voter perceptions.
The majority of presidents of the United States have been clean-shaven, including the Founding Fathers. John Quincy Adams — was the first U. Beards and mustaches fell out of favor due to health reasons, as described on the PBS website pertaining to a documentary on tuberculosis : "Most men at the turn of the [twentieth] century featured stylish beards or mustaches, but showing off a smooth face became a new trend once public health officials maintained that men could transmit dangerous infectious particles through the scruff of their facial hair.