3 Ways Chris Christie’s Weight Might Help Him

Chris Christie’s weight just might be an asset in his quest to advance his political career. Smug pundits may be completely wrong when they talk about his weight as a liability. Here are three ways it can help.

  1. Distraction. Right now Christie needs a distraction — anything will do — to move on from the bridge scandal getting round-the-clock coverage. The New Yorker just published a satirical account of Christie demanding that reporters start focusing on his weight again. They have a point. This is not the first time a politician needed to change the subject, and it won’t be the last for Christie.
  2. Humanization. Christie’s tough guy image is an asset, especially in New Jersey politics. But he needs to balance it with the right dose of humanity. By responding with grace to cheap shots and mocking comments that inevitably surface from stupid pundits, Christie has repeatedly lent a more human dimension to his tough image. It gives him a chance to show humility and good humor without detracting from his considerable strengths. The fact that he’s working on his health probably helps, too.
  3. Connection to Voters. Despite rampant weight bias, most people have at one time or another struggled with weight issues. Two thirds of Americans have excess weight or obesity. And very many of us have felt the sting of hateful comments and outright insults. Facing an issue that most people can understand makes Christie human to voters in a way that Mitt Romney could never do. Romney’s robotic, picture-perfect persona put a wall between Romney and voters that had much do do with his defeat in 2012. Christie’s weight gives him an authentic identity that voters instinctively like.

Click here to read The New Yorker’s satirical take on Christie’s weight as a welcome distraction and click here to read more analysis from Politico.

Chris Christie, photograph © Gage Skidmore / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.