FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Want to know why we're in trouble?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/27/art.romney.tux.jpg caption="Former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney is known for 'looking the part' of a candidate."]
Political candidates with good hair have a much better chance of being elected than candidates with bad hair, whether either of them knows anything about the issues.
That should scare all of us - but it's true.
A new study by MIT researchers published in the journal "World Politics" shows that people vote for politicians just because they "look the part." That's right: They'll cast a ballot for someone simply because they look smart, competent or attractive.
The research also shows that this phenomenon isn't just unique to the United States, but exists across cultures. In their study, more than 600 participants in the United States and India were shown pictures of candidates in 120 Mexican and Brazilian races. Then they were asked who would do a better job in office.
The Americans and Indians accurately predicted the outcomes of these political races to a surprising degree - based on nothing more than the candidates' faces.
According to the study, just by knowing which candidate looked better, researchers could accurately predict the winner in 68 percent of Mexican elections and 75 percent of some Brazilian elections.
Voting for the good-looking candidate is not a new idea. One of the researchers says, "Ever since Aristotle, people have written about the concern that charismatic leaders who speak well and look good can sway votes even if they do not share the people's views."
But the fact that voters across the world in the 21st century, with all the problems we face, could be exercising their democratic right based on nothing more than good hair or a nice smile is downright frightening.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if voters choose candidates based on their looks?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Tony in North Carolina writes:
If people voted on the candidates' good looks, how did Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, and Anthony Weiner ever get elected?
John in San Antonio, Texas writes:
It means the voters are as superficial as the candidates. Other than that, it means nothing; the corporate bosses will dictate how they perform.
Jack, It means we get what we deserve.
Elisa in California writes:
What does it mean, Jack? It means we are in trouble out here in California where the race for Governor is Bad Hair vs. No Hair.
It makes sense when you consider how much of a shallow, materialistic society we live in and how much politicians market themselves as products using catch phrases and bumper sticker slogans. We're increasingly short-focused and make near instant conclusions about people and most everything else, and it doesn't bode well for future competence of government.
Terry in Arizona writes:
Sorry, Jack, but if you are considering a run for president, your chances are slim, very slim indeed.
Dan in New York writes:
Dear Jack, Never underestimate the power of looking good. But you can take some comfort in the fact that, if these predictors or true, Glenn Beck has no political future.
It means some Americans are just as stupid as I thought they were.
Paul in Florida writes:
This whole 'attractive' theory flies right out of the window. Take a look at Barney Frank. Nice try, Jack.
Alex in Wisconsin writes:
Two words: Sarah Palin. See ya in 2012.