Americans have become so accustomed to seeing their presidents going gray in the White House that most haven’t even considered what it would look like to have a commander in chief who has no hair at all.
But Daily Mail Online has, Photoshopping the hair off of presidents past and possibly future to determine just how electable Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and John F. Kennedy are (or would have been) without their coifs to back them up.
The verdict? Most would be less likely to score votes as baldies, though many New Yorkers agreed that The Donald actually looks better without his signature comb-forward.
The Donald without The ‘Do: Daily Mail Online played with an image of Donald Trump to reveal what he would look like without hair
Infamous: Many people said that Donald would look better without his thinning locks, which have been the butt of jokes for years
The US has only had a handful of bald presidents in its nearly two-and-a-half-century history, and most were elected back with presidential portraits were paintings — and certainly before leaders were regularly seen on TV.
In fact, the most recent bald White House boss was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who served from 1953 to 1961 — and he was the last president not to have to participate in debates on TV. (As he was on his way out, John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon — a win that many attribute in part to JFK’s good looks and composure in front of cameras at debates.)
So would Americans elect a bald man (or woman) today? That’s what Daily Mail Online set out to find out, showing New Yorkers photos of past presidents — and current contenders — without any hair on their heads and asking whether they might get citizens’ votes.
Strandless Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton looks almost unrecognizable without her blonde hair
Talk of the tresses: Hillary’s hair has been a much-discussed topic since her husband Bill was running for president in 1992
Donald Trump, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the only person that men and women on the street preferred without hair, with several remarking that if the 69-year-old shaved it all off, it would be preferable to his current ‘do.
‘Well, that’s a lot better than the horror he presents with whatever that is on his head,’ said one man, while another agreed: ‘Yeah he looks better without hair.’
‘I think his hair is quite ugly, so maybe if he shaved off his eyebrows, too, maybe it could work,’ said one woman with a sly smile.
Donald, of course, is often on the receiving end of jokes about his hair, though the businessman insists he’s actually proud of his locks.
‘I actually don’t have a bad hairline,’ he told Rolling Stone in 2011. ‘When you think about it, it’s not bad. I mean, I get a lot of credit for comb-overs. But it’s not really a comb-over. It’s sort of a little bit forward and back. I’ve combed it the same way for years. Same thing every time.’
More than graying: Though most presidents go gray during their time in office, few — particularly not thick-haired Bill Clinton — have lost their locks
No difference? Several people laughed at George W. Bush without hair and said they still wouldn’t vote for him — more for his reputation than anything on his head
Hillary Clinton, 68, certainly wouldn’t earn more votes for buzzing off her blonde strands, though as one woman pointed out, there’s a very different perception of bald women than bald men.
‘Men, you could be bald all day long, but women… you’re sick,’ she said, capturing the idea that many bald women are hairless because they are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
Another man, though, had a different take on No-Hair Hillary: ‘I would say that that is entirely radical and she probably had like weird, totally leftist [ideas], given that she shaved her head.’
It seems, then, that the Democratic frontrunner can’t win no matter how she styles her ‘do, given the amount of criticism her own hair has earned over the years.
‘I know that [my hair’s] one of the great fascinations of our time — much to my amazement,’ she told Barbara Walters in 2012.
Her husband Bill Clinton, though, got a bit more credit.
‘Yeah, I’d vote for him, bald-headed or not bald-headed,’ said one woman.
Seriously ageing: New Yorkers compared John F. Kennedy’s hairless look to both Breaking Bad’s Walter White and Annie’s Daddy Warbucks
Distinguished: One man said he’d consider voting for Ronald Reagan as a baldy because he was good looking
Other past presidents, though, got more mixed reviews. When shown a photo of George W. Bush without hair, a few New Yorkers burst out laughing.
‘That man works for Goldman Sachs right there,’ joked one man.
When asked if they’d vote for him, several said no — but more because of the man himself than the lack of hair.
As for Ronald Reagan, one man remarked that the former actor still looked pretty good with a smooth head: ‘I would vote for Ronald Reagan bald. Maybe because he’s good looking in the photo.’
John F Kennedy, too, wasn’t ruled out, with one woman saying the young president looked wiser without hair. The men, however, likened him to some very different TV and movie characters: One said he looks like Walter White from Breaking Bad, while another compared him to Daddy Warbucks from Annie.