How Trump Is Like Liberace

It's more than just the hair. From the throngs of white women to the hordes of working-class men, these two divas have a lot in common.

01.03.16 6:15 AM ET

Send the illegal immigrants home. Bar the door to Muslims. Kill the media.

Mucho macho Donald Trump loves to talk tough. Real tough for a guy who deferred his way out of serving his country in the Vietnam War and then made shameful comments about a real American hero, John McCain.

But the truth is the shoot-from-the-puckered-lip billionaire is kind of a girly man, popping his pampered pompadour into angry rallies on his private jet.

Weird dyed hair. Fake white teeth. Heavy faux-tan makeup. A phobia about touching other human hands. Catty comments about women celebrities. Turning bitchy at the least perceived slight. Anal about everything. A bromance with Russian action hero Vladimir Putin. 

The guy who gives so many white men a political erection and thrills the thongs off so many white women is a diva in gray flannels.

American males who have been shouted down and silenced by oppressive political correctness have found a hero who is unafraid and unfettered. Someone who can say what they can’t.

American women of a certain breeding—the sort who used to mob Liberace—love Donald’s celebrity; his delicious digs at Rosie O’Donnell, Heidi Klum, and Megyn Kelly; his tasteless opulence; his girlish opinions on beauty contests and TV romances. Presidential politics is much easier to tune into when it is a flamboyant, drama-a-minute reality show.

The myopic media predicted the demise of Trump’s candidacy from the beginning. That’s because tired political pundits first approached the notion of a run by Trump as nothing more than his every-four-year flirtation designed to boost his brand and make his name more marketable.

Maybe that’s what it was in the beginning. But something happened this time. 

Perhaps it was the field of GOP boredom. The Republican Party’s usual answer to engaging the electorate is to send in the clowns. The fool Rick Perry. Jolly Mike Huckabee. Bumbling Bush. Ted “The Joker” Cruz. The cute little Rubio boy.  The elephantine Chris Christie. And the Wicked Witch of the West, Carly Fiorina.

The Dems have done little to excite, too. The socialist scold Berne Sanders can be entertaining, but the grumpy grandpa act is good for one or two reruns. After that, enough already! 

The over-eager Martin O’Malley is telegenic and strives for the outrageous, but you can only watch his local car-dealer pitchman persona for so long. Informercials, like O’Malley, make the eyes glaze.

And the queen? Hillary is such a better candidate than she was when she got schlonged by Obama in 2008, and she can be good television. No doubt a debate with Trump would blow away the viewership records that The Donald has driven on his own.

But badly burned in the past, she is a cautious candidate who while sometimes fiery remains fearful of the flame. 

Trump can apparently be as rash and appalling as he wants. The whiplash from critics only gets his supporters more lathered up and attracts new ones. 

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Hillary, her every utterance microscopically parsed, doesn’t have that rhetorical luxury. Plus we’ve all seen a version of this act before.

The Trump Show—or at least this iteration—is new. And like Liberace, Donald the Entertainer likes to give the simple folks what they came to see. 

Liberace used to brag a lot, too. About how large his “stones” were (the ones on his fingers). About his white piano with the plexiglass top (“There are only two in the world. [pause] I have both of them.”).

The hair. The teeth. The makeup. The flamboyance. The tacky décor. Come to think of it, there is a lot of Liberace in the Trump candidacy.

The depressing choice for America could turn out to be: big-mouth girly man or a fast-and-loose-with-the-truth manly girl in the White House.