Appearing on Mark Levin's radio show on Thursday, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief discussed his new novel, True Allegiance, as well as his efforts to effect a rapprochement between Never Trumpers and reluctant Trump voters.
Levin asked Shapiro to speak about his new novel. Shapiro responded:
It’s a novel. Basically, take everything that’s happened in America and ratchet it by about 25%; and the idea is what does the dissolution of America actually look like. It’s got a bunch of story lines that we follow; an inner city exploding into chaos with the president of the United states trying to use that chaos for his own political benefit; it’s got a border crisis in Texas; it’s got a rancher in California who’s attempting to stand up to overweening federal authorities; and meanwhile, America collapsing across the sea with terrorists attempting to attack us and a president who’s more interested in securing his own legacy than anything else. It sounds a lot more realistic about what’s going on today than it was when I wrote it; when I wrote it a year and a half ago I thought I was predicting ten years into the future; now it seems like it may be about ten minutes. Read it while it’s still fiction, before it’s history, I guess.
. . . The reason I wrote it as fiction and not as non-fiction is because what the left loves to do is they love to accuse people on our side of cherry-picking the facts, “Oh, the statistics you’re using are twisted.” If you tell a story, then it makes it very hard for the left to argue with the story. It’s using the methods of the left against themselves. The left likes to tell us stories, and then we argue that the story isn’t a true portrayal of reality, and they say, “Well, of course it’s not; it’s fiction. You either buy it or you don’t.”
Well, if we use the same method against them; if we kind of paint a picture for people who are in the middle on the left, “Here’s what America is going to look like if we don’t re-enshrine all those founding principles that you talk about, Mark, then this is what it’s going to look like.” Sometimes you can convince people better that way. the same way that Atlas Shrugged did more for capitalism than probably Milton Friedman did because more people read Atlas Shrugged than Milton Friedman. I’m sort of hoping the same thing happens in terms of fiction here, that we start to look at some of the serious issues that confront the country, but maybe we’re brought there by an exciting thriller rapping than just another non-fiction book.
Shapiro asserted, “The reason I called it True Allegiance is that’s the oath that officers take in the military and the main character, Brett Hawthorne, is a general in the army … the idea is that we all, I think, all Americans, at this point, have to determine what is our allegiance to? Is it to party? Is it to a politician? Is it to our family? Is it to principle, and what are the principles that we have to fight for, and what if those things come into conflict? What if your allegiance to the president comes into conflict with your principles? What if your allegiance to party and to friendship comes into conflict with the principles you hold most dear?"
Levin asked Shapiro about his column for National Review, in which Shapiro envisioned what should happen if Donald Trump loses and the Republican Party needed to come together. Shapiro responded:
The greatest danger that I see after this election whether Trump wins or loses is this Republican civil war that some people desperately want to have. I'm not talking about a cleansing that needs to happen of people who don't understand conservative principle; I'm talking about the idea that everything has to be burned down, who are we going to blame for Trump losing; is it the Never Trumpers, or is it the people who nominated Trump? We're all going to war with each other as opposed to going to war with the left's agenda.
What needs to happen here, and what I sort of say is that we need to understand that people who may disagree with you about Trump may have the best of intentions, because if we don't at least acknowledge that they had the best of intentions in terms of trying to fight the left, then we're not going to be able to come together. One of the things that I've thought that's ugly, and it's happened on both sides, is that people who are Never Trump, I'm a person who's not planning to vote for Trump, people who are not planning to vote for Trump, some of them have taken this sort of moral superiority high-horse position where if you're voting for Trump you're doing something deeply immoral. I don't think you're doing something deeply immoral at all; I totally understand the logic; I find it compelling. The only reason I'm not following it is because I have a different risk calculation about what a Trump presidency would do and also about what backing Trump and then him losing would do.
But Never Trumpers have to acknowledge: the people who are voting for Trump to stop Hillary are right morally; they're not doing anything wrong morally; by the same token, people who are voting for Trump to stop Hillary have to see that not all Never Trumpers are created equal; there are some people who are not voting for Trump because they actually wouldn't vote for Ted Cruz, and then there are some people who are not voting for Trump because they look at Trump and they say this guy is poisoning the well with a lot of constituencies we're going to need and beyond that he's enabled a lot of elements within the party that have nothing to do and actually fight constitutional conservatism, plus there is the fact that if he gets in, and he ends up being a bad president, and there's a recession, then in four years we're looking at somebody far to the left getting in for another eight, and we lose the Senate and the House in 2018.
These are real considerations, and I'm not suggesting you have to come down on one side or the other, but I am suggesting that on November 9, if we don't understand that we're on the same side, then everybody who does not care that much about constitutional conservatism gets what they want; people who want to make money off of the battle, the people who want to make hay, people like Hillary Clinton want to make hay out of our tearing ourselves apart. Again, that doesn't mean we can't look at people and say, "Who told us the truth, who didn't?"