It’s Election Day in the United States and speculation amongst political pundits is reaching fever pitch. By tonight (or tomorrow, or, fingers crossed, by Christmas?) the world will finally learn if America has elected a new president, Joe Biden, or if the incumbent Donald Trump has stolen… I mean, has been granted another four years in office.
Despite what looks like record voter turnout in the midst of a pandemic that has now killed over 230,000 American citizens under Trump’s leadership (or lack thereof), together with Biden’s consistent sizeable lead in the polls, Democrats remain nervous. This is partly because the archaic Electoral College system means that a president can lose the popular vote yet still get elected (e.g. George W. Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016), and partly due to the increasingly brazen attempts at voter suppression by Trump and his allies.
But the main source of this Democratic anxiety − now shared by many disaffected lifelong Republicans some of whom have been campaigning hard for Biden via such organisations as The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump − is apparently down to how wrong the polls got it in 2016.
Happily, they can all stop worrying and relax, because this time Trump is definitely going to lose. How can I be so sure? Because while Hillary Clinton’s loss can be put down to many things, including Russian interference and deep-rooted societal misogyny, it is actually explained by something far simpler: as the first female presidential candidate, she broke the astonishingly accurate algorithm known as the Follicle Factor.
The Follicle Factor might not be widely known, but it has been the single most reliable predictor of US presidential election outcomes for the past 60 years. Its formula is not complex, in fact it depends on just one issue: the state of the candidates’ hair. Yet its accuracy is a matter of proven historical fact. From JFK to Reagan to Clinton to Obama, every US President has shared one common trait − better hair than their opponent.
The first televised US president candidates’ debate in 1960, between Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy, was a total game changer. For the first time, the way a candidate looked mattered as much as how they sounded. Then-Vice President Richard Nixon sported a greasy hairstyle while visibly sweating under the hot studio lights. He didn’t stand a chance against young John F Kennedy’s oratory skills and glorious crown of thick, wavy hair. Nixon bided his time − and his dark oily slick − until 1968 when the Democrats made the mistake of fielding the balding VP Hubert Horatio Humphrey. Only then did Nixon finally get the job he’d coveted for so long, though his dreams would soon be cut short by the Watergate scandal.
Okay, there are a couple of exceptions (which surely only serve to prove the Follicle Factor rule). The first is Gerald Ford (1974−77), whose hairline had receded by the time he took office, but of course he’s an exception in another way too − he was never actually elected but found himself in office by default after Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace. The other exceptions to the Rule of Hair both had the last name “Bush”, which is surely explanation enough. And, as previously mentioned, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 “defeat” − despite winning the popular vote by over three million − was an anomaly for many reasons.
Fortunately, this year it’s a race between two white male septuagenarians. And so, even though one of them has chosen the first female and first black VP candidate, Kamala Harris, while the other has refused to denounce white supremacy, Putin, or to commit to the peaceful transfer of power, certain normal rules can again be applied.
Some may dismiss the Follicle Factor as fanciful − if not wishful − thinking. But I am placing my faith in its record and fully believe that, fittingly, the real reason Trump will lose the 2020 US election is also fake − his crazy hair, as wild and unhinged as the conspiracy theories he peddles.
The clear winner and next US President is, therefore, already apparent: former Vice President Joe Biden, whose natural grey hair is as authentic as his desire to unite his nation and bring truth, decency, and democratic norms back to the White House.
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