On Friday, CBC Radio's q program featured a segment called "Justin Trudeau and the politics of physical appearance".
The host, Shad, and his guests tried to have a high-minded discussion on "objectification, our changing ideas of the stature of leaders, and gendered double-standards".
It reminded me of what I call Cormier's Law.
Nearly 20 years ago, a wily Vancouver public-relations practitioner named Jean Cormier filled me in on what happens in political campaigns.
He bluntly stated that when two guys are running against one another, the one who looks better on TV always wins.
Cormier thought that this explained why a youthful Glen Clark pulled off a suprising victory over Gordon Campbell in the 1996 B.C. election. In those days, Campbell was a dud on TV.
Over the years, I've often thought about Cormier's Law.
Is this the reason a youthful saxophone player named Bill Clinton beat Second World War vet George H.W. Bush in 1992?
Was this a factor behind Barack Obama's thorough thrashing of John McCain in the 2008 presidential election?
Did B.C. premier Christy Clark look better on TV than Adrian Dix? And does this explain why she pulled off an upset victory in 2013?
Then there's Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson's landslide wins over the NPA's Peter Ladner and Suzanne Anton in 2008 and 2011.
In 2014, the NPA ran a mayoral candidate, Kirk LaPointe, with TV experience. Robertson was a few years older by that time and not quite as telegenic as in his early days. And this race was much closer.
When you start thinking about Cormier's Law, politics takes on a different hue.
Of course, there are some outliers. Stephen Harper never looked good on TV, but his party managed to win the most seats in three straight elections.
But come to think of it, Harper still probably looked better on TV than the aging Paul Martin and his successor as Liberal leader, Stephane Dion.
In the 2011 federal election, it was probably a saw-off between Harper, Jack Layton, and Michael Ignatieff as to how they looked on TV.
At the start of the recent federal campaign, I was curious to see if Cormier's Law would hold true with Trudeau.
After all, Trudeau looked far better on TV than his two main oppponents, Harper and Tom Mulcair.
Harper seems to intuitively understand Cormier's Law. He appeared to lose weight before the campaign began and he stopped wearing his glasses. Mulcair was his usual roly-poly self.
Trudeau's Liberals were lagging in the polls at the outset. But the more often the Liberal leader showed up on TV, the more popular he became.