2000 Mules or 2000 Lies?

In an ominous tone of voice Dinesh D’Souza tells the audience, “What you are seeing is a crime. These are fraudulent votes.” The image on screen is of a man, his face blurred out, placing five ballots into a pandemic era ballot drop box. The scene is a memorable one from the faux-documentary 2000 Mules, which posits the theory that wide spread voter fraud led to the demise of Donald Trump’s second term.

The film, which relied heavily on pure conjecture and false narratives, has been pulled from distribution by Salem Media Group after it became apparent that D’Souza and the grifters at True the Vote were not able to provide any actual evidence to back up their claims. The decision by Salem to pull the plug on 2000 Mules and apologize is a certain victory for Mark Andrews, the man with the blurry face, who was found by investigators to merely be delivering the ballots of family members who lived with him, which is legal.

Other claims in the film have also proven to be without evidence, such as True the Vote’s insistence that cell phone geolocation data showed people in peculiar travel patterns. The claim was that these people were acting as “ballot mules” in an illegal ballot harvesting scheme. True the Vote went so far as to file a complaint with Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, with their claims. But when the GASOS investigated the matter, True the Vote clammed up. The State Election Board had to take them to court to compel them to share their data and information so those who may have broken the law could be held accountable.

But when push came to shove, facing a court order, True the Vote, the cornerstone on which 2000 Mules is built, came up with absolutely nothing. They could not name a single person as a source for their claims and they could not provide the cell phone geolocation data the film relied on.

It is an interesting fact that the attorney for True the Vote during this process is David Oles, who now serves as the Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party’s 11th Congressional District and also one of the people who voted to keep Brian Pritchard in place as the GAGOP’s 1st Vice Chairman. Oles told the court in a legal filing this past December that try as they might, True the Vote had nothing to give the court that could prove that they were not simply making things up.

I think it is safe to say at this point that because they could not provide the evidence they claimed to have in the film that they probably were making stuff up. Or they were duped by some other grifter. And that last bit may just me being generous. Either way, Salem Media had seen enough to apologize and stop distributing the film.

The damage 2000 Mules has done to voter confidence in America is stunning. Even with how widely and thoroughly the film’s claims have been debunked it remains top of mind for many conservatives who have been told there is a boogey man under the bed. I know many people who still believe, to this day, that everything in 2000 Mules happened exactly the way D’Souza and True the Vote portrayed it. These are good and decent people who have been sold 2000 lies. I conjecture the snake oil salesmen in this case do not care about the poor suckers who paid their $29.95 or for the health of American Elections; when opportunity knocked they seized their shot and took it. And pockets had to be padded, truth or consequences be damned.

It’s what love of money over love of country looks like.

The thing that bothers me isn’t just the American Electoral System that took a shot, but the entire conservative movement lost credibility as a result of the film. It is an epic lesson in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” And as reasonable conservatives try their best to cajole and convince those good people who have been hornswoggled it is sure to create or deepen divisions between people who should be fighting to pull the rope in the same direction. And the next time something big happens (and it always does) that we should be collectively worried about, we are going to be facing a massive cliff to climb over to present our case in a believable manner.

When the news broke that Salem was pulling distribution I tweeted that I would love to see an official reaction from the Georgia Republican Party. If our collective credibility is going to be restored having them come out and embrace the truth, that the makers of the film cannot substantiate their claims, would be just a small step under normal circumstances. But I am afraid there are too many members of the GAGOP’s executive committee who have made the claims in the film part of their identity, or worse, part of the way they make money. These are not normal times.

As for me, I am going to have to work on eye-roll discipline. Since I have decided to never run for another public office my tolerance for nonsense has become as rare as a provable fact in 2000 Mules. I don’t think they have a chapter on excessive use of sarcasm in How to Win Friends and Influence People. These days I am more apt to pop off at the mouth than show grace when it comes to false stolen election claims. So as you pray for the recovery of our country from the debacle that 2000 Mules turned out to be, throw a little prayer my way, will ya? I am going to need it.

2 Replies to “2000 Mules or 2000 Lies?”

  1. The problem is if the Mules story was completely true there is no doubt the Republicans would be powerless to stop it… we have seen election after election where the Dems stole elections and the republicans simply bent over and took it.That’s why Republicans/Conservatives believe the Mules story.

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