Testosterone is the primary androgen, or, male sex hormone largely produced in the testes. Through millions of years of evolution, the hormone has fueled competition among males – for food, for other resources, and for mates. Now, in the run-up to the much-anticipated November 3 presidential election of 2020, the anabolic powerhouse may play a role in determining who occupies the most powerful position in the world – quite the high stakes.
Which begs the question: Who has testosterone in greater quantities, Trump or Biden?
Why Testosterone Matters in 2020
In both sexes, but more critically in men, testosterone plays a central role in maintaining high energy levels, promoting mental acuity and preventing cognitive decline, regulating mood, and protecting cardiovascular function – all crucial functions of the sex hormone for men in their 70s.
Testosterone Declines With Age
As men age, testosterone levels tend to drop consistently and steadily across the lifespan.
As such, the health-promoting benefits of testosterone in men, even presidential candidates, wane as they enter the golden years, contributing to issues commonly seen in the elderly such as cognitive impairment, frailty (sarcopenia), mood disorders, and increasing incidence of heart disease.
No voter wants to cast a ballot for a sick, weak president – especially not one at the helm of the most powerful nation in the history of the world, and a nuclear-armed one at that. In the era of COVID-19 and social unrest, we need a competent, powerful, focused leader more than ever.
Trump, Biden, and T: A Sad State of Affairs?
Strong cases can be made that both candidates are a little rougher for the wear testosterone-wise – after, all they’re not spring chickens; Trump is 74 and Biden is 77.
So, does either candidate’s testes produce enough T to pass the testosterone test? Without access to blood samples and HIPPA-protected medical records, we’re left with circumstantial evidence via decades’ worth of print and video, which we will now run with recklessly and arguably irresponsibly in our analysis.
The Energy Factor
Testosterone, as mentioned previously, feeds a healthy metabolism and drives energy levels upwards.
Trump became notorious in the 2015 primary and the 2016 general elections for his self-appointed title as the “high energy” candidate. When asked in an early 2016 interview whether his hectic schedule might wear on him, Trump replied, “I don’t get tired.”
Trump attracted tens of thousands of enthusiastic followers to his now-infamous, undeniably high-energy campaign rallies in which the crowds fed on his bombastic rhetoric and showbusiness pomp. Even Trump’s opponents and hostile media were forced to concede that, despite whatever other flaws he had, he knew how to excite a crowd with red meat and flair.
Since Trump came under the hot spotlight of the media lens, though, speculation has become rampant that his trademark high energy may not be all natural.
Last year, an online sleuth dug up a 2016 photo published on Twitter of Trump eating a taco in his office with the Trump-esque caption “I love Hispanics.” The photo had been in circulation for several years at this point, but this time with a new discovery: three boxes of European Sudafed in the drawer behind him. Speculation was rampant that Trump had purchased the European product because it may contain pseudoephedrine, a stimulant chemical tightly regulated in the United States due to its common use as an ingredient in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.
Similar claims of Trump’s use of Adderall, a popularly prescribed amphetamine, have surfaced – but again, without access to medical records or drug testing*, this is all conjecture (which again, we’re happy to indulge).
*It’s worth noting that, last month, Trump suggested mandating drug tests prior to the upcoming presidential debates. This could mean that Trump has nothing to hide, or that he knows Biden’s handlers would never consent because Joe may very well be on the sauce himself.
Whatever one thinks of Biden otherwise, no one can deny that he was, once upon a time in his political prime, a sharp debater. In 2012, while running for re-election as vice president on the Obama ticket, Biden wiped the floor with Paul Ryan in the October 11th debate – for anyone who watches political debates routinely, it was a one-sided massacre that is nearly unprecedented since the advent of televised debates.
Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan participate in the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College, with Moderator ABC News Anchor Martha Raddatz, in Danville, Kentucky on October 11, 2012. (Photo by Mark Makela/Corbis via Getty Images)
Biden, in fact, made his career winning over audiences with his, if you will, “high-energy” charming and engaging personality. As a relatively centrist — even arguably corporatist — neoliberal democrat from an obscure state, Biden relied on these assets to climb to the top of the political pyramid.
In 2020 hindsight, it’s sometimes difficult to believe that Biden is the same man – his bravado and swagger have nearly totally evaporated, gone with the wind. Exhibit A: the rhetorical bludgeoning he took like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar from then-rival, now-running mate Kamala Harris during a June 2019 primary debate.
Biden managed to mount only the most exceedingly weak and ineffectual response to accusations of his cozy relationships with segregationists, which was so poorly received by the audience that media heralded the exchange as the nail in his campaign’s coffin (although that prediction turned out to be hyperbolic).
As Trump would say, SAD!
The Mental Accuity/Testosterone Angle
No testosterone-related issue has come up as frequently in this often-vicious campaign cycle than the cognitive decline issue. Although many factors play into age-related mental impairment, the clinical literature is clear that testosterone levels are a reliably predictive indicator of loss of cognitive abilities.
Each candidate has accused the other of cognitive decline repeatedly, both personally and through their surrogates.
Biden’s Mental Health
Biden’s cognitive decline is undeniable. Before party orders went out to cut out the circular firing squad vis a vis Joe Biden’s possible dementia, even democratic allies like former candidate Cory Booker publicly raised the specter of Biden’s inability to commandeer the nuclear football come January, were he elected.
Biden has always been a gaffe machine; offering off-the-cuff, off-color remarks as a matter of routine has been in the Biden playbook for decades and, in fact, has worked in his favor because he seemed more relatable than the all-too-common robotic politician-speak endemic to Washington. These aforementioned endearing and humanizing qualities, in fact, earned him the affectionate nickname “Uncle Joe” in some democratic circles.
This campaign season, though, Biden’s colorful commentary has gone off the rails – with many analysts speculating it may be due to cognitive decline. Compare, for example, this contrast-drawing compilation of Biden then and Biden now. The apparent decline is astonishing.
So far, Biden has exhibited a number of concerning moments cognition-wise, such as:
- Declared that “we [the democratic party] choose truth over facts.”
- Called a supporter at a rally a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier” (wtf does that even mean?).
- Noted in a speech that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” (BLM wasn’t thrilled about that one.)
- Finished the remarkably short introduction to the Declaration of Independence, which a second-grader could memorize in a day, with “you know the thing.”
- Forgot which state he was in while campaigning.
No mental health-related clip is more telling, though, than Biden’s utterly bizarre and highly entertaining account of a “bad dude” named “Corn Pop” who challenged Biden to a fight during his younger days as a lifeguard for telling him to get off the diving board.
In the same speech, Biden went on to describe in cringeworthy detail how the children swimming at the pool where he worked would rub his “hairy legs” to watch his blonde hairs “come back up.”
Biden, still unfinished with his stupefying gaffe-fest, polished it off by stating with a straight face, and apparently in all sincerity, that he owed learning about “kids jumping on his lap” to said lifeguard position of his youth and that he, in fact, to this day “loves” children jumping on his lap.
In the video, you can almost feel his campaign staffers in the background clutching their pearls.
Trump’s Mental Health
74-year-old Trump is no stranger to accusations of waning mental faculties. In response to these accusations from what he calls the “fake media,” Trump has declared himself a “stable genius.” Despite his protestations, though, there is, indeed, evidence that these media-fueled accusations may not be unfounded.
As evidence of his questionable cogency, during his relatively short political career, Trump has:
- Repeatedly misnamed key advisors in his administration whom he ostensibly interacts with on a daily basis.
- Claimed ahistorically that heroes of the American Revolution, in 1775, “took over the airports” controlled by the British. The airplane was invented in 1903.
- Apparently lost the motor memory necessary to drink water like a normal human.
- Suggested that Finnish authorities control wildfires by raking the forest floor.
- Called a hurricane “one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.”
On the mental health front, it’s arguably a toss-up. Both candidates were palpably more mentally competent just a few years ago; cognitive decline is clearly an issue for both, but to what extent is a matter of speculation without transparent, publicly-available mental health examinations from licensed psychiatrists.
Trump’s (Apparently) Healthy Sexual Libido
While the cognitive decline issue may be up in the air, Trump indisputably carries the day on another key indicator of testosterone levels in both men and women: sexual libido.
Trump is notorious for his sexual exploits such as:
- Allegedly having an affair with a porn star named Stormy Daniels while married to one of his three wives.
- Discussing an extramarital affair in leaked audio from his time on the set of “Days of Our Lives,” said he had offered to buy a lady of interest some furniture as an ice-breaker, then “moved on her like a bitch.” He also said he “just grabs [women he likes] by the pussy” without waiting. (Aggressive sexual behavior may be tied to greater testosterone exposure).
- Hanging out backstage at modeling competitions that he sponsored with semi-nude young ladies because they let you “get away with it” when you’re the man in charge.
- Referring to avoiding STDs in the 70s as his “personal Vietnam.”
Can Biden Hold a Candle to Trump in the Sexual Prowess Department?
Biden, on the other hand, has not exhibited the same libido as his rival over his years of public service – although, it is worth noting that he is infamous for awkward displays of public affection with total strangers, including inexplicably sniffing the hair of female colleagues and even underage female guests who join him on stage at publicly-televised events.
US Senator Joseph Biden (L), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, whispers on July 20, 1993 to judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg shortly before his committee began Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing for the position of associate justice of the US Supreme Court. (Photo by Jennifer LAW / AFP) (Photo credit should read JENNIFER LAW/AFP via Getty Images)
Out of charity and without evidence to the contrary, we can chalk Biden’s handsiness up to an odd quirk of “Uncle Joe” rather than as a sexual deviancy thing.
Trump wins in the libido department, hands-down.
The Gender Disparity Between Democrats and Republicans and What That May Say About Testosterone
At least in theory, politicians in representative democracies represent their constituencies. That would mean, arguably, that presidential candidates embody the characteristics of their voters. So, what does the data say in this regard?
First of all, men have 10-20 times more circulating testosterone than women. And, it turns out, men are likelier to be republicans whereas women are more likely to vote democratic.
Source: Pew Research
If we take these three core facts and assumptions — that a.) candidates represent the characteristics of their voting blocks, b.) men vote republican more often than women, and c.) that men have more testosterone than women — we can infer that, given comparable sets of circumstances such as gender and age (as we see in Trump and Biden) to rule out confounding variables, republican candidates generally have higher testosterone levels than their democratic counterparts.
That’s rock-solid social science, or at least something resembling it.
The Bottom Line on the Testosterone Competition of 2020: Who Has More?
The preponderance of (largely circumstantial) evidence seems to indicate that Trump has higher levels of the male sex hormone than Joe Biden.
The pair ranks comparably in an analysis of declining mental faculties, which as we discussed earlier is a solid indicator of testosterone levels in aging males.
However, given the heavily chronicled sexual promiscuity of Trump even into his later years, he edges out Biden on the sexual libido front. Combined with his evidently higher energy levels and the male-dominated ranks of the republican party that make up his base, Trump appears to have an appreciably higher testosterone count than Uncle Joe.
Regardless, given their risk factors and respective public displays of the symptoms associated with a possible testosterone deficiency, both may be ideal candidates for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.