A new story in Esquire magazine claims Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) - a presumed 2016 presidential hopeful - is "not far off from combover city." Even the Washington Post chimed in, wondering if baldness would hold back this rising GOP star.
The political implications of hair loss is a question that has come up before, with other politicians: Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, to name a few.
It's interesting to note here that hair loss is one of the only areas where male candidates face personal style or beauty critiques from the political pundits. For women, it's obviously much worse - female candidates are often heavily/unfairly scrutinized for their clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup and hair style. But, for men, it is typically reserved to the combover.
As the Washington Post noted:
"We haven't had a bald-ish president since Eisenhower, and balding men in uniform get a free pass. Before that there were Martin Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, and - well, Gerald R. Ford's hair was making a pretty stealthy getaway, if you stopped to notice it."
So, will Rubio's hair loss affect his political aspirations? It would be foolish to draw a direct connection between a candidate's hair loss and his (or her) electoral chances. However, in our media-saturated culture, appearance is clearly important - and having a full head of hair could help at some (perhaps subconscious) level with voters.
Politicians shouldn't rule out any advantage - or disadvantage. With four years until the 2016 election, Rubio would have plenty of time to reverse his thinning hair. A NeoGraft FUE hair transplant would do wonders for restoring his natural hair line and filling in those bald spots. That, along with a comprehensive treatment regimen (potentially Propecia, Rogaine, Low Level Laser Therapy), would give him a full head of hair that would certainly quiet the critics.