If you're hoping to collect your reward at the "cyber symposium," you just have to shatter a man's faith in God.
Democracy, it turns out, is a fragile thing.
What felt, not long ago, like a deeply flawed but ultimately ironclad arrangement of American politics has recently been undermined. But don't worry, Mike Lindell — the MyPillow guy — intends to save it...
Earlier this month Lindell announced his plans to reveal his evidence of election fraud at a so-called "cyber symposium" in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which he is set to kick off in just three weeks time, and which he claims "is going to change the world ... it's gonna show everything and that this election was taken." At which point he believes that Donald Trump will be put immediately back in office.
The Threat to Democracy
For anyone living in a reality where Joe Biden and the Democrats stole the presidency, it must seem strange that the savior of democracy is a man whose primary claim to fame is the development of an $80 pillow that was supposed to make it possible to sleep while high on so much crack that your crack dealers are worried for you.
As Jimmy Kimmel put it in April, "Somehow a simple pillow salesman from Minnesota got to the bottom of the deepest conspiracy in the history of American politics. It's so crazy, it's almost hard to believe."
Jimmy Kimmel's Interview with Mike Lindell www.youtube.com
Still, whatever mental gymnastics are required to make that make sense, it seems that plenty of people have managed to do them, as Lindell reports people approaching him to say, "'You're our hope,' and all these things."
But for those of us who accept that millions of votes were not covertly flipped and manufactured — in a dozen states with wholly distinct election systems — in the most elaborate election fraud to ever go undetected by every expert except the secretive people reaching out to a pillow company CEO...the threat to democracy looks a little different.
From that perspective, the concerted effort — by former President Donald Trump and a legion of his most deranged stooges and acolytes — to spread these conspiracy theories is the real threat. And while we still have a technically functional democracy (albeit flawed to the point of practical oligarchy), the threat posed by these figures is to undermine faith in the legitimacy of that system until it's torn apart by terroristic violence and a groundswell of support for reactionary voter suppression.
Thanks to the loud and pervasive insistence of people like Lindell, around 60% of Republicans believe that the 2020 election was fraudulent. In reality, of course, the only thing substantially out of the ordinary about the whole process was the wide availability of mail-in ballots.
This made it far easier for more eligible citizens to cast their votes — particularly in Black and brown communities, which are often deliberately deprived of adequate polling stations, and which were hit particularly hard by the pandemic. But even that vital measure — taken as the COVID pandemic began the build up toward its horrifying winter surge — is treated as insidious by a group that disproportionately embraces virus denial, vaccine paranoia, and outright rejection of medical expertise. And seemingly nothing can make a crack in their defenses.
Even when Sidney Powell and the other lawyers behind the much-vaunted election fraud "Kraken" in Michigan are being viciously dressed down and considered for professional sanctions over the submission of their "fantastical" affidavit, it doesn't begin to break through. After all, Fox News, ONN, Newsmax, and your weird uncle who spends all day on Facebook aren't covering it, so it must not really be news...
A Way Out?
So when Mike Lindell announced this week a $5 million dollar reward for "cyber guys" or media figures who could prove his election fraud data is "not valid," it seemed like a golden opportunity. It seemed like there might be a way out of this mess.
Finally, a highly public chance to expose what a joke this whole theory is, and to get rich doing it! There are just two problems.
First, Lindell has shifted the burden of proof in the wrong direction. In his wording, the group calling to overturn the results of a presidential election for the first time in American history is assumed to be right, rather than the group calling for the constitutionally mandated election process to be upheld as usual.
He should have to prove that his numbers are valid, not the other way around. Because while it's trivially easy to show that a bunch of made up "true" election results have no basis in reality, and nothing to back them up, it's substantially harder to "prove" that they're nonsense.
For example, if I were to show you a drawing on the back of a Denny's placemat, and claim that it's a blueprint of Joe Biden's secret bunker where every missing child in America is being held prisoner, you probably wouldn't believe me. You might say "that's ridiculous" or "why is it drawn in crayon?" but you would be hard pressed to prove that I hadn't copied it by hand from secret government files that have since been destroyed as part of a massive coverup...
The Fatal Flaw
It will be incredibly surprising if Mike Lindell's "data" turns out to be more substantiated than that. But the second problem with Mike Lindell's offer is even harder to correct: Mike Lindell is the judge, and Mike Lindell is crazy.
Things would never have gotten to this point otherwise. A sane man, knowing as little about data analysis and cyber security as Lindell does, and knowing how easily he's been fooled in the past, would never feel qualified to say that the data he received from his anonymous sources is legit. But Mike Lindell feels qualified.
Why? Because Mike Lindell wants to believe it, and because Mike Lindell is crazy.
While he claims that a group of five supposed experts will evaluate every attempt to refute his "evidence" — again, an extremely difficult task even if those "experts" were unbiased — that $5 million is Mike's. He's not going to give it up until you convince him that he's wrong, and that's never going to happen, because Mike Lindell knows that God is on his side, and Mike Lindell is crazy.
My Pillow Mike Lindell gets prank called on news www.youtube.com
God has chosen him to sell over-priced pillows and to get the 2020 presidential election overturned. He believes this is all God's plan, and that after his cyber symposium "we will once again be one nation under God and it will be the biggest revival for Jesus in history." The only way you're going to win this $5 million dollars is if you shatter his faith in God and convince a truly unhinged man to notice his own lack of hinges.
As far as Mike Lindell is concerned, the only reason Donald Trump won't be in the White House on August 13th is if the devil and the deep state interfere. Therefore, his $5 million is safe.
Still, the spectacle of whatever happens at Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" — from August 10-12 — is guaranteed to be entertaining — maybe even more so than the launch of his social media platform, Frank. And if the false promise of a $5 million reward is enough to bring some extra media attention to an event, that will no doubt be equal parts sad and hilarious, and we won't complain.