By Joe Bast | June 6, 2022
“2000 Mules,” the hour-and-a-half documentary film produced by Dinesh D’Souza featuring the work of Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips of True the Vote, ran briefly at Marcus theaters in Green Bay at the end of May. (Local organizations may also be showing it; check out the Wisconsin Patriots Toolbox calendar to learn where and when.) Diane and I watched it with two other couples in an otherwise-empty theater.
I will start with the good aspects of the film because they are very, very good. The evidence presented is compelling: cellphone and video evidence showing thousands of individuals illegally delivered hundreds of thousands of ballots to “drop boxes” in major cities in the 2020 battleground states. The methodology described by Engelbrecht and Phillips rules out the possibilities that any of these “mules” were delivering ballots only for family members (which is legal) or were making deliveries to nearby businesses.
D’Souza lets Engelbrecht and Phillips do most of the talking about the research. A panel of conservative pundits provide their reactions with one, Dennis Prager, famously appearing to shift his opinion from “agnostic” about whether the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump to firmly in the stolen camp. Near the end of the film, D’Souza speculates that widespread voter fraud probably cost Donald Trump many times as many votes as he would have needed to win reelection.
Production qualities are high, the pacing is good, Engelbrecht and Phillips are very persuasive, and D’Souza is generally an excellent commentator and host. The hour-and-a-half passed quickly.
This is a movie you should feel comfortable sharing with family and friends. Unless they are willfully blind to any evidence of voter fraud in 2020 – and we all know some family and friends who are – they will be convinced by this movie. For me, it ends the debate over who actually won the 2020 presidential election. When someone dismisses claims that the election was stolen, simply ask them, “have you seen ‘2000 Mules’?” If they say “no,” simply say “True the Vote proved there was enough election fraud to turn the election. That debate is over.”
“2000 Mules” is not without its annoying moments. Some scenes are plainly reenactments, such as when D’Souza and his wife pretend to be seeing an interview with a witness to election fraud for the first time on an iPad. How much of the panel discussion was similarly reenacted? Heavy-handed lighting and staging tries to make the “secret laboratory” of True the Vote look like a scene from the television series, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” but it’s really just a couple guys with PCs, and tools hanging on a wall in the background make it more likely to be someone’s garage. D’Souza’s gleaming white mansion home is featured… some may wonder why.
I was disturbed by the absence of people appearing in the film independently confirming the methodology and findings of Engelbrecht and Phillips. The political pundits, D’Souza, and D’Souza’s wife are plainly not experts in the technologies involved in tracing cellphone users, connecting them to surveillance video from drop boxes, and ruling out alternative explanations. Specific “mules” and specific liberal nonprofit groups that allegedly paid them are not identified. Viewers are asked to accept on faith the findings as reported by Engelbrecht and Phillips.
After writing this review, I searched for substantive criticism of “2000 Mules.” Most critical reviews focused on D’Souza’s conservative leanings and his 2018 pardon by Donald Trump for campaign finance law violations committed in 2014. A few wondered why, if the fraud was as widespread as D’Souza’s team claims, others haven’t made similar claims. The simple answer to that is they have, hundreds of times, but their claims have been censored and ignored. Producing this documentary film was a way to circumvent the censors in the mainstream media and liberal judges.
The Associated Press ran a long and tendentious “fact check” of the movie. Its main complaint is that cellphone geolocation data aren’t precise enough to determine that a person actually visited a drop box. But Engelbrecht and Phillips spent nearly two years testing and interpreting data to establish exactly that link. I think one needs more than a half-sentence quotation from a liberal academic to dispute it. Hans von Spakovsky recently replied to such “fact checks” by challenging the media to “use the documentary to try to identify and interview some of these mules and the staff at these nonprofits if they really wanted to get at the truth.”
Similarly, the AP claims “a video of a voter dropping off a stack of ballots at a drop box is not itself proof of any wrongdoing, since most states have legal exceptions that let people drop off ballots on behalf of family members and household members.” Well, that depends on how big the “stack of ballots” is, and how many times the “voter” makes such a deposit, and whether or not the “voter” was paid. Truth the Vote researchers studied and documented each of these considerations before reaching their conclusions. The AP reporter and her sources did not. After watching “2000 Mules,” it isn’t difficult to know who to believe.