Hillary Clinton. Barbara Mikulski. Dianne Feinstein. Nancy Pelosi. Samantha Power. Janet Reno. Donna Shalala**. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Barbara Boxer. What do all of these women have in common? They are Democrats. And they are butt ugly. Mere statistics alone would suggest if you got a dozen or so Democrat women politicians together there would be some glimmer of attractiveness, no matter how dim, somewhere. But you would be wrong. However, now, thanks to SCIENCE, we know why:
Research has found that being attractive influences many things in a person’s life — their salary, their popularity and grades in school, even the prison sentences they receive. So why not their politics?
A recently published study in the Journal of Public Economics concludes that the attractiveness of a candidate does correlate with their politics. They find that politicians on the right are more good looking in Europe, the United States and Australia.
The study shows correlation, not causation, but the researchers float a simple economic explanation for why this might happen. Numerous studies have shown that good-looking people are likely to earn more, and that people who earn more are typically more opposed to redistributive policies, like the progressive taxes and welfare programs favored by the left.
The researchers also offer a more general psychological explanation for the trend: That good-looking people are often treated better than others, and thus see the world as a more just place. Past studies have found that the more attractive people believe themselves to be, the lower their preference for egalitarianism, a value typically associated with the political left.
And this might be the first time the “Hot-Or-Not” method has been used to develop data for an article in a peer reviewed journal
In their first experiment, the researchers showed respondents photographs of political candidates in Finnish municipal and parliamentary elections, members of the European Parliament, U.S. candidates for Senate and governor, and candidates for Australia’s House of Representatives. They asked participants to rate the photographs on a five-point scale. The results suggested that politicians on the right are more beautiful on all three continents.
Nothing is 100%, of course. And always remember, that we are speaking in relative terms because politics is Hollywood for ugly people. Though I focus on women (not being gay I feel more comfortable with making judgments of attractiveness on the opposite sex, though even if I were gay there is nothing wrong with that), the rule applies to men, too. Al “Rubber Face” Franken, One-eyed Harry Reid. Anthony “Weiner” Weiner, are all proof that the rule transcends sex.
**I date the beginning of my decline from having perfect vision to the day in 1997 when I encountered Donna Shalala in tennis whites in Montrose Park in Washington, DC.