What is this? I don’t think “beard” is the right word. It looks more like a heavy dusting of grime settled over the mushy expanse that a chin might normally occupy. Like if Pig-Pen put on a suit, adopted a truly reprehensible set of political beliefs, and created a family who hates him.

Is he trying to look cool? Does he think this makes him hip like Beto O’Rourke, a man who, it has been pointed out, is virtually the same age as Cruz but somehow looks decades younger?

Maybe it’s not a beard at all. Maybe the light approached his face and was like “Oh, no thank you” and just retreated. Maybe his cut-rate Human costume is starting to fray. Maybe it’s oil. Maybe it was just makeup applied by his wife, who was like “I’m trying to make it realistic but your face is too slippery!” Options abound. The one thing I know is that it’s definitely not a beard.