“The right-wing market has become radicalized,” said Goldberg, who sharply criticized the Trump-era GOP. “Not just by QAnon-type stuff, but by years of anti-Clinton-and-Obama tariffs.”
For now, the most successful conservative writers are grappling with more abstract targets, such as “awakening” and “culture cancellation.” A quick review of recent bestsellers suggests ignoring Biden may work very well. According to BookScan, which tracks most hardcover sales, Andy Ngo’s book on antifa, Unmasked, has sold over 77,000 copies (an indisputable success in political non-fiction), as has Rod Dreher’s novel Don’t live by lies, which presents itself as a “manual for Christian dissidents”. Next talk radio host Mark Levin American Marxism– which will address, among other topics, “Widespread Brainwashing of Students, the Anti-American Goals of Critical Race Theory and the Green New Deal,” according to its editor – is expected to be a huge hit when released in July.
Shapiro attributes this trend to a larger change he has noticed in his audience. While conservatives may not care about Biden, he told me, they are petrified by the broader progressive forces they see at work in American politics. “What people are afraid of right now are not powerful public figures. What people fear are their bosses, their neighbors, that they will be harassed on Twitter and be socially ostracized. Shapiro is betting that this is where the focus will stay: his own book to be released this summer will cover what he describes as “the takeover by the left of all great institutions.”
Of course, conservative publishers also grapple with an industry-wide problem: the end of the so-called “Trump is working.” After five years of bestseller lists dominated by books on Donald Trump – from journalistic investigations to MAGA hagiographies to pro-resistance revealers – the general interest in political non-fiction may return to earth. And by deliberately positioning himself as an antidote to the tragedy of the Trump era, Biden may only serve to cool the market further.
Adam Bellow, editor-in-chief at Bombardier Books who helped popularize the anti-Clinton genre decades ago, predicted that some Biden-centric books will eventually hit the conservative market. But he told me that any attempt at a briefing could be hampered by the relative lack of journalistic firepower on the right, which weighs heavily on pundits and light on journalists. “One problem with the conservative media is… they don’t have sources in this administration,” he said. “No one will talk to them. “
Meanwhile, some in the conservative publishing world are determined to find a new bogeyman to fill the void left by Biden. One possibility is Anthony Fauci, whose advocacy for COVID-19 restrictions has angered large swathes of the right. (Faucian Bargain: the most powerful and dangerous bureaucrat in American history became a surprise hit when it was released in March, selling over 68,000 copies.) But as the pandemic ends in America, Fauci’s resistance as an antagonist is called into question. Another option is Biden’s son Hunter, whose controversial personal life and business relationship has been covered extensively by Fox News. It is the subject of a forthcoming book, Laptop from hell, scheduled for this month of September.