Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro sat down with author and podcast host Andrew Klavan on this week’s episode of “The Search,” where the colleagues discussed strategy in politics, the 2024 presidential election, transgenderism, and much more.
Shapiro and Klavan, close friends for years, both agreed that strategy is necessary and effective when trying to achieve something in politics, even with issues like abortion. Sometimes, Shapiro argued, incremental policy changes are the most effective route, and can do more good than pushing a policy that could backfire.
“For me, it’s really a question of what means are sufficient to achieve the ends,” Shapiro said. “And I feel the same way about things like abortion.”
“If you just turn up the volume all the way, that’s how you achieve the desired effect. And I just don’t see that that’s the case,” he continued. “I think that in states like Florida, which is a very conservative state, now, you can do a six-week abortion ban. But if you try to push that in Kansas, what you’re going to end up with is abortion across the board again. I think you have to actually tailor your message to the audience, and yeah, get people used to things over the course of time, because not everybody thinks like you.”
“Politics isn’t the only battlefield,” Klavan interjected. “Some battles you win politically and some you win culturally. You know, obviously I think both you and I would like to see every abortion stop, but you win the fight you can win today.”
“And more than that, you prevent the loss,” Shapiro said.
“You save the life,” Klavan responded. “That’s right.”
“I got slammed for this just the other day,” he continued. “People, weirdly, especially Christians — I mean, Christ said you got to be as sly as a serpent. But they were saying, ‘No! You can’t compromise. Even if you lose, you win because you become righteous and you go to heaven.’ Which is the Left’s idea that their intention is the only thing that matters. Of course you have to have strategy and of course you have to fight.”
The pair then touched on former President Donald Trump running for president in 2024. Shapiro argued that conservatives should back the person who has the best chance to win the general election, and he doesn’t believe that person is Trump.
“I was talking to somebody about this, and he was acknowledging all these points, including the idea that [Trump] was more likely to lose the general than, say, [Ron] DeSantis or Brian Kemp … and he said, but I love the guy and I’m gonna vote for him. And I said, ‘Well this isn’t a dating show.’”
“It’s your job to have gratitude for people, for politicians who do the right thing,” Shapiro added. “It’s not your job to be loyal to them. It’s their job to be loyal to you. They’re your representative.”
“Exactly,” Klavan responded.
“Winning is the only way that you get things done,” Shapiro said, adding that politicians who lost presidential elections used to “go away” after the loss.
“I think we bear some responsibility for this, because you go on the air,” Klavan said. “And you may have to be emotional to connect with people’s emotions. You can’t just lay out a logical mathematical equation. Politics is an emotional business, but politics is about winning. It’s not actually about salvation.”
“I think that this idea that this is the battle for heaven, and these are the end of days, you know, that’s nonsense,” he continued. “This is what politics looks like and what it has looked like almost in every generation.”
On transgenderism, Klavan said the Right is making the “wrong argument.”
“Our argument is not that men and women are different, because obviously men and women are different. But there’s a lot of things in nature that we don’t like [that] we change,” he argued. “People get cancer in nature, people get all kinds of handicaps. We fix them, right?”
“What we’re saying is that men and women are different and that is a good. And in order to make that argument, you really have to make the argument for created order,” the author said. “If we don’t bring that idea back fearlessly … we lose this argument.”
Klavan said transgender activists aren’t really saying that men and women are different, they’re saying that those differences are bad. “And what we’re saying is no, that’s part of the created order, and it is good because the Creator is good,” he said. “It’s our only argument.”