How to Make Other Conspiracy Theories Look Smart

Jamie Kanter
9 min readDec 30, 2020


Make Yours That Much Dumber

The conspiracy theories surrounding the election are not surprising. Donald Trump himself spread much of the suspicion as soon as he figured out he’d probably lose the election. He used the word “rigged” a lot, despite the fact that the election was months away. So it’s no wonder that a lie repeated so often for so long has gone viral. But why did it have to be so dumb?

Don’t get me wrong, most conspiracy theories are dumb. But with most of them, there is at least a sliver of truth that allows it to be just outlandish enough for most people to dismiss it, but just believable enough for others to buy it.

QAnon, for example, is moronic. It posits that Donald Trump, only in office for a few years, has somehow been tasked with taking down a satanic pedophile ring run for years by the democrats. However, it points to the fact that many celebrities are avowed progressives, which is true. Therefore, anything they say adds fuel to the supposed fire. It’s ridiculous, but it can seem true because it uses celebrity as a lightning rod.

Area 51 has been linked to alien activity and research for decades, though there is little proof to support the notion. It’s a highly-classified Air Force installation, so its secrets are well-guarded. Might there be previously-unseen aircraft near a super-secret military base? Sure. Does that make it alien aircraft? Probably not. However, since the military won’t verify the research being done there, people are left to create their own narrative.

There are many more conspiracy theories out there and many more to come, but we find ourselves staring at one of the dumbest we’ve ever seen: The 2020 election.

Look, I get it. Some people really love this president and they want him to remain in office. They can’t fathom that many others feel a different way and wanted the other guy to be in office instead. So they’ve built a mechanism to deal with the cognitive dissonance of the moment. All of that is understandable. What isn’t, however, is how a conspiracy theory can openly contradict itself on so many levels, and people still buy it.

The first part of the conspiracy goes like this: Democrats are master criminals at the top of their game.

As the theory goes, the Democrats pulled off the crime of the century. They had their hands in multiple federal, state-wide, and city governments, manipulating the election machinery to do their bidding. Some of the things they pulled off:

· Registering dead people without tipping off elections commissioners or secretaries of state

· Dumping legally-cast mail ballots using the United States Postal Service, an agency controlled by a devout Trump lackey

· Hacking or controlling the statewide voting software used by multiple states and changing votes to be more Biden-friendly

· Switching out legally-cast ballots at polling places in plain view of election workers

Not only did the Democrats manage to do all of this, however. They managed to do it without leaving any sort of paper trail and no legitimate witnesses. There wasn’t one person, out of the thousands that had to participate in this scheme, that had an attack of conscience. Not a single one of the conspirators made a mistake. Not one.

Sure, there are a few so-called “whistleblowers” out there, but none of them has a shred of proof to back them up. They’re dismissed as cranks or worse because they can’t actually prove what they saw. And therein lies the genius: even those who think they saw something can’t prove they saw something.

The Democrats were so effective, in fact, that even Trump-appointed judges have had to dismiss court cases for lack of evidence. A Trump-appointed federal judge said this in his ruling against the campaign:

“But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

In fact, of the 60 lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign to argue the election results, only one was victorious. And it was about how long after the election new voters had to bring in their IDs to confirm their identities. (It was later tossed out by the state supreme court.)

With the sheer volume of lawsuits, the number of lawyers, and the surge of Trump-appointed federal judges, the campaign was bound to win at least a few, right? Unless the Democrats did a masterful job in covering their tracks. Not even one lawsuit alleging fraud made it through. Not even one judge suggested malfeasance. The Democrats played a masterful game and they won.

According to the theory, the Democrats are Lex Luthor, Keyser Söze, and James Moriarty combined into a malevolent, brilliant criminal enterprise.

Here’s the problem, though: The plan, as constructed, is riddled with stupidity, bad decisions, and unnecessary risk.

If the Democrats are masterminds capable of crafting a plan that allows them to get away scot-free with election fraud, surely they’re smart enough to do it way better than this.

Issue one: Dominion Systems is everywhere

One of the key accusations made by Trump supporters is that Dominion Voting Systems were used by the left to steal the election. Newsmax (Fox News’s fascist cousin) even went so far as to claim that Dominion was only used in the 6 states in which the Trump campaign filed lawsuits. Joe Biden won each of those states. A smoking gun?

Nope. Because Dominion Voting Systems are used in 28 (not a typo) US states. And not just ones in which Joe Biden won the vote. Texas, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and others also use Dominion Software. If the Democrats hacked Dominion and could control voting in any Dominion state, why not win more? Why leave it to chance?

Issue two: Once you have Dominion, why do anything else?

Remember that many of the accusations against the Democrats revolve around “traditional” voter fraud: ballot-switching; vote-counting; ballot destruction; registration forgery. At the same time, though, the Democrats also had to know that Dominion was locked and loaded. If they had compromised software in all of the key states, why risk getting caught dumping ballots in a river or changing out ballots in a campaign van?

Think about it: If Dominion systems were already compromised, the Democrats should have done anything they could to play the rest of it as straight as possible. They already had the vote tabulation software, so why bother with the votes themselves? Just change it on the backend.

Maybe this is just an excuse for WarGames footage.

Let’s imagine this scenario: if a high school student hacks into the school computer and can change his grade, would he also break into his teacher’s house to steal the final exam? One isn’t necessary once you have the other. Surely the criminal masterminds would have known this.

Issue three: Why these states again?

If there is one thing that I know from movies about criminal masterminds, it’s that they like to reduce their risk of getting caught and sent to jail. They have friends in the police department, contacts in the courts, and inside people supplying them with information. They will guide their efforts to ensure that their cases are handled by friendly cops and paid-for judges. It’s smart to prepare for the eventualities.

Yet the Democrats chose to steal votes in red states with red governors and red secretaries of state. Maybe they feel that it’s a risk worth taking in Pennsylvania and Michigan, since Democrats control the key roles in those states. But Georgia? Arizona? Those governors are ardent supporters of the president. Any whiff of impropriety will be investigated into the ground.

When planning, why not choose North Carolina over Georgia? Similar pre-election poll numbers. Similar number of electoral votes. But North Carolina had:

· Been won by Obama-Biden previously

· A Democratic governor

· A Democratic secretary of state

Wouldn’t that have been a far easier state to steal? Wouldn’t it raise fewer eyebrows?

These master-thieves didn’t think to limit their theft to the states where they’d have cover from a friendly governor? That’s just bad planning.

Issue four: Why these states again? (again) — The “Gone in 60 Seconds” Dilemma

Electoral math is fairly easy. Get to 270. Full stop.

Looking at pre-election polls, Biden-Harris were up significantly in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The “blue wall” that used to exist seemed fortified and strong. There would be no real “need” to cheat for those, since the Democrats had seen double-digit leads in those states. They were widely predicted to vote for Joe Biden. Why risk stealing a state you were probably going to win anyway?

Checking out the rest of the state polls before the election, the math was clear: Win Pennsylvania and win the election. Joe Biden knew it, which is why he made 11 trips to Pennsylvania in the last three months of the campaign. Given the state of the polls, Pennsylvania was the one and only state he needed to cement to surpass 270.

So why steal Georgia and Nevada and Arizona too? They were superfluous. Window dressing. Style points.

Remember back to the film, “Gone in 60 Seconds.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s the story of Nicolas Cage’s character needing to steal 50 high-end cars to save his brother from criminals threatening to kill him. The key is that he needs a specific number of specific cars to hit the threshold; no more.

Not to spoil the film, but the thieves don’t wind up adding a Camry, a Taurus, and an Altima just to prove they can. They strive for the cars they need, knowing that anything extra is both worthless and risky.

Yet the Democrats, knowing that they only needed Pennsylvania, went out and stole three extra states that didn’t change the outcome? 306 minus 33 is still 273. Plenty to win the White House. And far less risky.

Issue five: They forgot about Congress

Winning the presidency is important. Winning multiple branches of the government is way more important. And master political criminals would know that.

Before the election, polls consistently showed Democrats poised to take back the Senate and to extend their majority in the House. Yet neither of those happened. Despite the outright theft of the presidential election. Why?

If the Democrats stole the presidency, why wouldn’t they make similar changes down-ballot? If you’re in Dominion’s systems or filling out fake ballots, why not check the box next to the Democrats for Senate as well?

Everyone is allowed to be happy or disappointed by the outcome of the election. It’s tough, though, to see so many people deceived into thinking that there was no outcome to the election. It’s over and it’s clear. To think otherwise is to buy into a conspiracy that is both ridiculous and stupid.

In order to believe this, you’d have to suspend all reason to get to a place where master criminals can also be astronomically bad at crime. You have to accept that people smart enough to steal an election, in plain sight, are dumb enough to do it completely wrong. That criminals can be both Ocean’s 11 and the Wet Bandits.