We like to pretend a few semesters at a liberal arts college can override thousands of years of naturally selected human behavior, that physical beauty is some kind of perverted social construct, a “tool of oppression” to keep spirits low and consumer spending high.
Whether or not you are conscious of it, appearance conveys important information about people, such as health, strength, fertility, and genetic resilience.
Complain all you want that the “beauty premium” is irrational, unfair, even sexist. Lament the ignorance of neanderthals who judge others based on looks rather than values, ethics, and the content of their character. But this is Nature, and science says it doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat or black or white: everybody values appearance.
Not only do good looks sway polls, but in a 2019 study that will surely enrage feminist victims of the patriarchy, researchers found that appearance mattered even more when females entered the race.
“In electoral districts where two men are opposing one another it tends to be less important. However, if a woman receives the direct mandate, whether against another woman or a man, rating of appearance tends to have a greater influence.”— University of Freiburg, Germany, 2019 study
Washington may be Hollywood for ugly people, but science confirms what everybody knows intuitively: pretty people win elections.
According to the University of Freiburg study, attractiveness translated to an 11% swing in polls.
Which brings us to New Mexico’s First Congressional District, recently vacated by now-U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
In a district that is heavily Democratic, Republican Mark Moores’ odds of taking the seat are low. If every voter were forced to listen to Democrat Melanie Stansbury’s voice for three months straight, Moores would win in a landslide, because nobody wants a dimwit race-baiting Valley Girl representing New Mexico in the United States Congress. And kudos to Moores’ campaign for running ads on loop that show Stansbury for what she is.
Moores, who has served as a state senator in District 21 since 2012, also benefits from what will likely be a low-turnout election. Mid-term and special elections draw fewer voters than when Senate or presidential candidates are on the ballot, and lower turnout historically benefits Republicans.
[Democrats chalk this up to racism (shocker!), claiming Republicans can’t win if minorities don’t vote. Republicans claim Democrats can’t win without low-information voters, who are less likely to vote in local and low-profile elections, and when they do turn out, they vote based on personality more than policies. Whatever the reason, both sides agree Moores has the turnout advantage in this race.]
But Stansbury is attractive, not only by comparison* but objectively. Based on the nature of the photographs her campaign uses to promote her candidacy, the Democratic Party thought it was her strongest asset.
After watching her debate, they knew it.
This doesn’t mean Moores can’t pull it off. Stansbury is a perfect example of how appearance can not only contradict evolutionary indicators but sometimes swings so wildly in the opposite direction that the it becomes its own survival technique, compensating for a complete lack of intelligence.
Moores has the right attitude, he has the vision, and he has one arrow in his quiver that should pierce the heart of every District 1 voter: he doesn’t want to defund the police.
But this is 2021, where perpetrators of crimes are actually victims of oppression; where hate crimes against Asians committed by blacks are blamed on whites; where politicians release violent criminals back into the community in the name of civil rights and equity.
In that world, you need more than one arrow to flip a district that has been held by Democrats since 2009 (and held by female Democrats since 2013), particularly when that arrow only flies straight in the eyes of one party.
While it’s petty to reduce an election to gender and looks, politics is petty. People care more about personalities than policies, and identity politics has both parties by the throat. Elect Women used to be a tool of Leftists, but today as many Republicans as Democrats play the game.
Even if policies did matter, Moores has virtually none to boast about.
We’re not singling him out or minimizing his civic contributions at the statehouse. This is just the reality for Republicans in a Democratically controlled state.
Moores’ own campaign website boasts of his efforts to fight against business closures during the pandemic, to fight Biden’s end to oil and gas drilling on federal lands, and to stand up to extremists who want to defund police.
He is right, he has the right values for the job, and he is fighting the good fight. His efforts will be judged with favor by his constituents and Creator alike. But as with so many Republicans in this state, fighting isn’t winning when you’re perpetually in the minority, and his constituents in state Senate’s 21st district are not of the same mind of constituents in CD1.
And so, in a race between two little-known candidates in a deeply blue district during a political era held hostage by melanin and gender and partisan vitriol — where disagreement is racist and merit is sexist — the race-baiting female with a pretty face has the upper hand.
It is not right, and we hope the best candidate wins, but we should prepare for reality.
* No offense Mark.
Categories: Sunday Opinion