The much-hyped “2000 Mules” documentary, produced by right-wing activist Dinesh D’Souza in partnership with Salem Media, was a dud.
The title of the documentary came from the drug or human trafficking term and was an attempt by the documentary team to equate the trafficking term to ballot harvesting operatives. The documentary claimed that it tracked around 2,000 “mules” in battleground states, who allegedly stole the election from Trump.
The premise of the documentary was that Engelbrecht and Phillips found video and geolocation data evidence of ballot drop box-stuffing by paid left-wing operatives. Engelbrecht and Phillips claimed that they purchased millions of pieces of geolocation data and matched them to these operatives in places such as the Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona and Fulton County, Georgia.
But the documentary mostly focused on Georgia because it could only obtain video camera footage of Fulton County’s ballot drop boxes.
Yet the evidence itself was flimsy, not specific, nor convincing to a critical thinker when it comes to identifying illegal ballot harvesting as the root cause of the stolen election.
In other words, illegal ballot harvesting is the practice of political operatives gathering mailed ballots of non-relatives and dropping them off at a designated ballot drop box location by the state or county board of elections. The problem is that these operatives are paid for these services, when federal law disallows any payment for voting on a ballot. Also, some states ban the practice of ballot harvesting by non-relatives to prevent voter fraud and only permit family members or caregivers to drop off ballots.
The documentary, featuring D’Souza’s dialogue and commentary at length, emphasized panel discussions and phone conversations between himself, his wife Debbie, and other invited guests. He hosted a panel discussion with other Salem Media figures and roped in the likes of Sebastian Gorka, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, radio hosts Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, and Eric Metaxas. D’Souza spoke with election expert Gregg Phillips and True the Vote CEO Catherine Engelbrecht. Of the names listed, Engelbrecht is likely the more experienced of the group when it comes to voter and election integrity.
Finding information about Phillips’ background was much more difficult, since the only available information was that Phillips allegedly worked as a former deputy health commissioner in Texas and was a human resources leader in Mississippi’s state government. There is no indication, at least based on public information, that Phillips is an election expert.
The major flaws throughout the documentary were front-and-center. Though it claimed to have found ballot-stuffing operatives, it did not name or expose these operatives.
It failed to specifically name the ballot-stuffing non-profit organizations that allegedly paid the mules to stuff the ballot drop boxes. Not a single organization was singled out, although the documentary hyped the confession of a Yuma, Arizona resident who said that ballot harvesting occurred in her workplace.
It did not sufficiently answer how they could prove that the ballots were falsified, claiming that once a ballot was cast in someone’s name, there was no legal avenue to disprove the ballot. Instead, the documentary emphasized how, over time, a constant flow of illegally-harvested ballots swung the 2020 election to Biden.
Even though it is a plausible theory, the lack of identifying information of operatives and non-profits undermined the theory. Also, the panel had some problems explaining to each other and the audience of how cast ballots cannot prove the election was stolen.
It did not provide hard evidence other than claims that its geolocation analysis was impeccable and several camera angles purportedly from Fulton County, Georgia ballot drop box locations. In one video, D’Souza claimed that one alleged operative knew the ballot drop box location so well that she did not have to look around for a trash can to dispose of her latex gloves. He claimed that the operative wore gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints on the ballots.
Some critics have said that, because the 2020 election happened during a pandemic, that D’Souza’s argument was short-sighted and biased because the alleged operative may have been taking safety precautions.
Larry Elder called the video footage a “smoking gun” that proved the election was ridden with fraud. Gorka and Kirk agreed with Elder, but Metaxas and Prager were hesitant to agree wholeheartedly.
Overall, the documentary did not shy away from making Dinesh the centerpiece of the documentary, instead of relying on election experts to frame the story from the thousand-foot view. Dinesh’s expertise is not in election integrity or election laws, but in writing books and making speeches.
The documentary was a prime example of a missed opportunity that focused on a very narrow and specific part of elections (i.e. ballot harvesting) and ultimately failed to deliver on its promises. In the words of the famous English playwright William Shakespeare, it was much ado about nothing.