A curious American took to the internet to ask why DeSantis seems to wear lifts in his boots. This led to a discussion about appearance and politics. Turns out, looks matter if you want to be president.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
If history is any indication, appearance is important in politics. Since the advent of television, our presidents have all had certain physical characteristics. One of those attributes is height.
Tall Man’s Game
The average American president is 5’11. That’s two inches taller than the average U.S. male. And it means shorter men who intend to win the White House have every incentive to look taller than they are.
DeSantis claims to be 5’11, but many voters doubt that’s true. Sources that have analyzed DeSantis’s footwear guess that he’s at least one and a half inches shorter than he claims.
Six Foot Minimum
But there’s good reason for DeSantis to cheat when it comes to height. “Can you even have a shot at running for president if you’re under 6 foot?” one person asked, citing that essentially every presidential candidate over the past few elections, including Bernie Sanders, has stood at least 6 feet tall.
We’re So Vain
“I think lifts help DeSantis. That’s just my opinion, but it’s based on significant evidence that many voters are shallow and easily swayed by appearances,” another person agreed.
Historically, the taller presidential candidate has won the White House. But, there are notable exceptions to the rule.
But Not Always
“[Height] matters less in modern history. George W. Bush was shorter than Gore and Kerry. Obama was shorter than Romney. Biden is shorter than Trump,” one person pointed out.
Hard To Say
Some commenters were quick to note that Biden may not actually be shorter than Trump. “It’s been widely reported that Trump has similar lifts [to DeSantis],” one person said. Others noted that all of the modern candidates listed as exceptions were also at least six feet tall.
Fake It to Make It
Height isn’t the only physical characteristic candidates attempt to change, though. “Joe Biden had hair implants years ago and sure looks like he’s had a lot of facelifts,” one commenter noted.
“Trump wears a face full of orange makeup and some kind of sci-fi hair product that masks his balding,” another person said.
Young and Strong
“It’s just human psychology; we don’t want old or weak-looking leaders,” one commenter explained. And that may be true, but several people thought attempts to change one’s appearance could backfire.
Insecurities on Display
“DeSantis already comes off as creepy, fake, and weak. The fact that he’s not confident enough to just be himself and project authenticity and has to wear a fake-person costume affects people on a subconscious level,” one person said.
“If you’re willing to lie about something so pointless, you’ll lie about something that’s extremely important,” another commenter explained. Many argued that voters can sense when something is fake and take offense.
“People in leadership positions having embarrassing personal secrets is a problem. It exposes them to potential influence from others, blackmail, and all sorts of other unsavory characteristics that would typically render someone ineligible for security clearances, let alone high-level executive positions,” another person added.
It’s Not the Heels
Ultimately, many commenters decided DeSantis wearing lifts wasn’t a problem. The bigger issue was how he went about it. As one person explained, “DeSantis gives the impression he can be bullied into changing his appearance,” and that strikes some Americans as weak.
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