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Movie review: “2000 Mules,” a flawed but legitimate bombshell

By Monica Chen

“2000 Mules” is not as much the hard-hitting expose of the 2020 election that viewers might expect from its marketing. The movie is actually a great overview of election fraud that has been taking place for the past decade. And the research it features leaves a big question wide open.

Still, “2000 Mules” is a major, real bombshell.

The documentary comes from political pundit Dinesh D’Souza and familiar collaborators, including director Bruce Schooley, and D’Souza’s wife, Debbie, who has also produced his other movies, most recently “Trump Card” in 2018. It features research conducted by election integrity watchdog True the Vote.

Much criticism has been leveled at the use of cellphone data in “2000 Mules” to track “mules,” or ballot traffickers, and estimate the number of fraudulent votes in the 2020 election that gave Joe Biden the win over Donald Trump. This writer finds the cellphone data to be credible. The data is what makes “2000 Mules” a bombshell, the kind that comes along once in a century. It is the research methodology that is flawed. (More on this later.)

First, the findings that D’Souza presents to viewers are shocking. He asks incisive questions of True the Vote’s founder Catherine Engelbrecht and top researcher Glenn Phillips, leading the viewer through the complex data. Here is what they tell us:

Atlanta: 242 mules that went to an average of 24 ballot dropboxes and eight organizations in a two-week period.

Phoenix, 200+ mules

Milwaukee, 100 mules

Michigan, 500 mules

Philadelphia, 1,100 mules going to 50 dropboxes each. People driving to New Jersey possibly to pick up ballots. 

The movie estimates that calculating for the ballot trafficking, Trump would have won with 305 electoral votes.

The movement of the mules shows that the fraud was deliberate.

“To get to some of these dropboxes, it had to be intentional. You had to get off the highway, go on some street, you had to turn in somewhere in order to get to those dropboxes,” Phillips said.

And Engelbrecht remarks on the gaslighting by the media in the aftermath.

“Now the narrative needs to be that this is the most secure election, this is the most fabulous election we have ever had. Pay no mind to the millions of Americans that are saying something is not right,” Engelbrecht said.

The movie also takes the audience through other kinds of ballot harvesting and ballot trafficking, including the exploitation of the disabled and the elderly, and the bullying of vulnerable populations, immigrants and the homeless.

It also mentions the well-known case in North Carolina of the Mark Harris campaign in 2018 as a prime example of ballot trafficking.

All of this information makes “2000 Mules” a great overview on election fraud. But the methodology of the research into the 2020 presidential election has one glaring flaw.

True the Vote seems to make assumptions on the nonprofits, or the “stash houses” where the fraudulent ballots are kept, as one of the starting point of its research along with the ballot dropboxes, for pinpointing the movements of the mules. Additionally, D’Souza never explains or even gives a hint of who these nonprofits are. So the viewer is left in the dark. This begs the question: Did True the Vote have a preset list of nonprofits they knew were stash houses from previous research, instead of determining who the stash houses are from the mules? Is the research completely nonpartisan?

D’Souza has answered a similar question from a viewer here, but has not addressed this concern. In journalism, you can provide hints for who the nonprofits are. For example, are they big nonprofits with obvious political leanings or small nonprofits doing unrelated work, like animal rescue? D’Souza and his producers not giving any hints at all leaves a big piece of the puzzle off the table.

The movie has other flaws. True the Vote and Engelbrecht’s background is not explained and should have been for context. The organization is based in Houston and has been doggedly fighting election fraud there for more than a decade. The tone of the movie is uneven. It starts off strong and seems like it would be a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism, but then down-shifts to homey, chummy scenes between D’Souza and family and colleagues. From its marketing, complete with a companion book and a deluxe DVD, you might expect “2000 Mules” to dive deeper into the fraud in the 2020 election, to Philadelphia instead of Atlanta, focusing on the mules more instead of brushing off their motivation as simply about money.

In any case, the rest of “2000 Mules” is compelling and has enough overwhelming evidence that these flaws should not have a big impact on the results of the data.

And there is no one in America who cares about this country who can watch the security camera footage in the movie, of mules stuffing ballot boxes, some in broad daylight, and not be shocked, feel betrayed, feel disgusted. True the Vote also found that some of the mules were also involved in the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots in 2020. What these mules have done runs completely counter to the trust that people in this country have in our election system.

The clarity of the data — the prevalence of cellphones in American life in 2020, the availability of the data to marketers and an organization like True the Vote — is the kind of insight that comes along at turning points in history and are never seen again.

So, flaws and all, “2000 Mules” is a once in a generation, once in a century opportunity. The research in the movie is the biggest opportunity this country has of breaking organized election fraud and its connection to corrupt organizations at the local level, and to domestic terrorism. Here is hoping D’Souza will follow up and show us more, show us everything.

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