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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

Superficial, but looks matter

If you want to know who is announcing his or her candidacy soon, check who has recently dropped weight, gotten hair plugs, or both.

California Sen. Kamala Harris waves during the rally

California Sen. Kamala Harris waves during the rally launching her presidential campaign in Oakland, Calif. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Noah Berger

While the swimsuit competition was eliminated from the Miss America contest, looks and form still count when it comes to picking a presidential candidate.

If you want to know who is announcing his or her candidacy soon, check who has recently dropped weight, gotten hair plugs, or both.

“I don’t like being judged on my looks and frankly, I’d like to spend less time thinking about my appearance, but there it is,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote in her book “Off The Sidelines,” which includes such charming remarks from congressmen as, “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat.”

Gillibrand recently posted a photo of herself working out at the gym before announcing an exploratory committee for a 2020 White House run.

Meanwhile, it looks like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is gearing up to run as well, if his recent fitness proclamations are any indication. A vegetarian for more than 25 years, he has now moved to a more stringent vegan diet.

Unfortunately for Booker, some Americans still view those who refuse to eat red meat (or chicken or cheese) as weirdos. “Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food,” said the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who called vegans “Hezbollah-like.” But Booker knows that looking attractive and fit is more important to many Americans than knowing the issues.

Sure it’s shallow, and these realities have consequences. For example, if President Donald Trump were bald, we wouldn’t have had to bear the recent government shutdown and other manufactured crises — which no one knows better than Trump himself. That’s why he spends so much time on his Dairy Queen swirl hairdo.

Cliff Sims, former White House director of message strategy, describes in his book, “Team of Vipers,” how one of his assignments was to accompany Trump to video tapings toting a can of Tresemmé Two Extra Hold.

Why? Because Trump knows that America hasn’t elected a bald president in more than 60 years, despite the fact that by some estimates almost half of American men age 50 have chrome domes (no, Gerald Ford wasn’t elected).

So to predict the next politicians who will throw their hats into the 2020 ring, forget their words. Watch their weaves and waistlines.

 Follow playwright Mike Vogel at @mikewrite7.

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