Mike Lindell is the single most prominent pusher this side of Donald Trump of the Big Lie – the idea that the 2020 election was somehow stolen despite zero evidence to back up that claim.
The MyPillow founder has spent oodles of time (and a decent chunk of his own money) seeding the fever swamps of conservative media – and its adherents – with outlandish ideas that votes were changed electronically from Trump to Joe Biden, with no one but him any the wiser. (You can read more about the so-called “Italygate” conspiracy theory here.)
Because Lindell usually limits his public appearances to websites and TV networks that have a financial interest in continuing to feed this lie, he is rarely challenged on the utter ridiculousness of his claims.
That changed on Thursday. Lindell sat down with CNN’s Drew Griffin for an interview to, uh, explain his theory about how voter fraud was committed in the 2020 election. The entire interview is worth watching, but there’s one back and forth that exposes the utter inanity of Lindell’s case in a way I hadn’t previously seen.
Here it is:
Griffin: You identify 15 counties where the votes were switched, we contacted all 15 counties –
Griffin: – red and blue, red and blue.
Lindell: It doesn’t matter.
Griffin: And we couldn’t find a single person that said this is even possible. They say, are – you are mistaken.
Griffin: They think you’re wrong.
In the words of Gob Bluth: Ok, ok, ok shoulda shoulda shoulda shoulda.
What happened here is pretty simple: Lindell got confronted with facts. Facts that not only said that votes weren’t changed in the last election but also that they simply could not be changed in the way he is alleging because voting machines are not connected to the internet – for safety and security reasons.
And Lindell folded like an inexpensive suit. A really, really cheap one.
While this is only a snippet of the longer conversation that Griffin and Lindell had, it’s indicative of Lindell’s utter inability to offer anything beyond vague statements and easily disproven claims about what happened in the 2020 election.
What shines through – in both the passage above and in the broader interview – is that Lindell has, to put a fine point on it, absolutely no idea what he is talking about. He hasn’t done the legwork (which Griffin and CNN did). His “proof” is literally random screenshots that he says reveal that votes have been changed. As Griffin noted: “These images are just publicly available voter data scrolling across the screen, not proof of election hacking.”
It’s almost comic watching Lindell, when confronted with indisputable evidence that he is just plain wrong, try to find some way to save face.
Notice I said it’s “almost” comic. Because the truth is that what Lindell is doing is an active danger to democracy. Too many people believe him – because they want to believe that Trump won – and don’t do any sort of fact-checking or research on their own.
This isn’t a theoretical conversation about the dangers Lindell and others like him pose. January 6 happened. We saw the real-world effects of the likes of Lindell shopping this crap to people who either don’t know better or don’t want to know better. Five people lost their lives. More than 100 police officers were injured. And, unless people like Lindell are totally and completely repudiated, something like January 6 could very well happen again.