True the Vote Conspiracy Theorists Urge Supporters to ‘Step Onto the Battlefield’

True the Vote's Catherine Engelbrecht railed against a bill she said would "blow up our elections" in a March 2020 YouTube video.

True the Vote, a group that has promoted false claims about election fraud to justify restrictions on voting, made a fundraising pitch on X/Twitter on Tuesday, saying it was trying to raise $150,000 to meet a match and advance toward their goal of recruiting and training “1,000,000 pro-liberty election workers.”

Given that True the Vote leader Catherine Engelbrecht has portrayed its work—such as its opposition to vote-by-mail—in terms of spiritual warfare, it is not surprising that the “URGENT” request for money linked to in Tuesday’s social media post used apocalyptic rhetoric:

We’ve talked for some time about the coming of dark days. They are now upon us.

Do not fear.

It had to be this way. This moment had to come. The darkness must be defeated. The corruption of our country can not continue.

The question is, what will you do to help?

We are fully committed to winning. I believe we will win – and not just the election – America is rising.

Yes, our organization is being attacked on all sides. Yes, parts of our justice system have been co-opted. Yes, the Executive Branch of government has been weaponized. Yes, there are foreign actors pressing in. Yes. It’s true.

But nothing … nothing … can arrest the God-given, spirit-filled gift of freedom that is WORTH fighting for. And that gift of freedom, given not by government but endowed to us by our Creator, is like a flame, exposing the darkness and lighting our path.

Englebrecht’s pitch ends with a plea: “Now is the time. Step onto the battlefield with us. Let’s save our country.”

Just a day earlier, Jessica Huseman at Votebeat noted that True the Vote has not joined Salem Media in apologizing for the false claims about election fraud in the 2020 election in the widely debunked “2000 Mules” movie that Dinesh D’Souza produced with True the Vote’s Englebrecht and Gregg Phillips.

Salem, True the Vote, and D’Souza were all sued for defamation by a man the movie falsely accused of committing voter fraud. At the end of May, Salem Media apologized and agreed to remove both the film and subsequent book from its platforms; Salem said it had “relied on representations made to us by Dinesh D’Souza and True the Vote.”

After Salem’s settlement and apology, Englebrecht issued a defiant statement declaring that “the war that is being waged against liberty is plain for all to see,” pledging that “we will not be a casualty,” and promising, “If we must stand alone, so be it, we will stand. In truth.”

But truth doesn’t have much to do with “2000 Mules,” as True the Vote seemingly admitted earlier this year when, as AP reported, it “told a Georgia judge that it doesn’t have evidence to support its claims of illegal ballot stuffing during the 2020 general election and a runoff two months later.” A spokesperson for the Republican Secretary of State responded, “Once again, True the Vote has proven itself untrustworthy and unable to provide a shred of evidence for a single one of their fairy-tale allegations. Like all the lies about Georgia’s 2020 election, their fabricated claims of ballot harvesting have been repeatedly debunked.”

In spite of the movie having been repeatedly debunked, former President Donald Trump and his allies continued to promote it. And millions of MAGA Republicans still believe its clams. Noting that “Salem’s choice to apologize and stop distributing the film may not dent the faith of the people who already believe the film’s claims,” Votebeat’s Huseman cites The Bulwark’s Andrew Eggar’s comment on Salem’s retraction: “Mopping up the water doesn’t un-carve the gorge.”

Some Trump allies are still trying to carve the disinformation gorge even deeper. Turning Point Action, for example, is planning to screen “2000 Mules” in Wisconsin in October a few weeks before the election.

Speaking of the election, D’Souza’s son-in-law Brandon Gill, who reportedly worked with D’Souza on “2000 Mules,” rode a Trump endorsement to victory in a crowded primary in a deep red Texas district in March, making it very likely that he’ll be in Congress next year no matter who is elected president.

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