Training for Voter Intimidation?
Matt Shea’s On Fire Ministries at 115 E Pacific is holding “Drop Box Training” this evening at 6:30PM, training in Matt Shea’s words to “make sure that, I don’t know, they [drop boxes] don’t get stuffed with anything that’s not ‘of God’”, a line he delivers with a knowing smirk. You can see the isolated clip here in a much watched Twitter post. You can also see it in context by clicking the youtube video below. (“Pastor” Shea’s Drop Box training advertisement starts at 19:22 amid other announcements in the beginning of a nearly three hour long Sunday service.)
Matt Shea is the former Washington State representative from LD4 (Spokane valley north to Mt. Spokane). He resigned from the state legislature at the end of 2020 after becoming infamous thanks to his “Biblical Basis for War” manifesto. He has not gone “quietly into the night” after what in normal times would be widely seen as a disgrace. First, he took the reins as “pastor”of the Covenant Church at 3506 W Princeton Avenue from Ken Peters as well as the leadership of the “Church at Planned Parenthood” (TCAPP) . Soon fired by Peters under circumstances not made public, Shea his latest congregation, On Fire Ministries & Kingdom Christian Academy, in May of 2021, apparently taking along a share Covenant’s parishioners. Peters has since rebranded Covenant as the “Patriot Church”, perhaps better reflecting its political aims. (For more of Shea’s disturbing history read here.)
Matt Shea’s antics with his congregation and his announcement of “drop box training” at On Fire Ministries are part of a larger well-funded false political narrative of election fraud that no one still a member of, or candidate in, the Republican Party dares to plainly repudiate. When Matt Shea resigned his seat in the Washington State legislature in 2020 he left his seat mate and fellow traveler, Bob McCaslin Jr. (now running against Vicky Dalton for Spokane County Auditor). Shea was replaced as LD4 state representative by Rob Chase, a more affable man than Shea, but one who shares similar far right politics. It is an open question whether Shea would have been re-elected state representative from LD4 had he run in spite of “The Biblical Basis for War” controversy. Arguably he may be capable of producing more damage from outside the legislature than he could accomplish on the inside, especially with two fellow travelers holding the LD4 seats.
“Drop Box Training” and 2000 Mules
Each major political party is authorized by Washington State law to send representatives to undergo training to be come “election observers” of the procedures of handling and counting ballots in each county. This year, several observers representing the Spokane Democrats chatted with their Republican counterparts. They learned that at least some of the Republican observers were not only highly skeptical of every detail of the ballot handling process and had been motivated to sign up for election observer training by Dinesh D’Souza’s movie, 2000 Mules:
2000 Mules is a 2022 American political film by political commentator Dinesh D’Souza that falsely claims unnamed nonprofit organizations paid “mules” associated with the Democratic Party to illegally collect and deposit ballots into drop boxes in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin during the 2020 presidential election. D’Souza has a history of creating and spreading conspiracy theories.
Someone or some organization, mailing from a fake Spokane address so as to be untraceable, sent out DVDs of 2000 Mules to an unknown number of recipients in eastern Washington. The targeting was broad, inaccurate, and likely quite expensive, judging by the number of people I know who received a copy. I watched it. It is a slick piece of Republican propaganda posing as a legitimate scholarly documentary. As I watched I was reminded of the ironic comment, “Of course it’s true. I read it in the newspaper”, but applied to the present day. The supposedly analytical commentators dressed in suits, along with D’Souza himself, pretend to be convinced during the movie by the data presented. It takes but a minute to learn they are all far right wing political operatives. All hail from the Christian conservative Salem Radio Network: Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, Eric Metaxas, and Charlie Kirk. Only the most gullible would believe this was a panel capable of balanced analysis of the presented data.
2000 Mules is the slick propaganda that underpins Shea’s “drop box training” this evening. Combining the movie and the probable contour of the training it is not a great leap to imagine the sincere believers of this garbage staking out drop boxes in certain locations in Spokane, particularly areas that lean Democratic. These sincere observers would be on the lookout—and ready to video or perhaps even directly challenge—anyone who, to their skeptical eye, looks or acts “suspicious”. The beauty of this whole scheme is that these folks staking out drop boxes will no doubt be thinking of themselves as justified by Christian fervor and a desire to protect election integrity, when, in fact, their primary effect more likely be to intimidate voters.
This is a Republican propaganda play to keep alive and use to electoral advantage Trump’s years-long accusations of stolen elections. Where are the local, regional, and national Republicans (except Liz Cheney) who will call out this deception for what it is?
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. For more information read RANGE Media’s Luke Baumgarten’s “Matt Shea is training ballot box watchers in Spokane”. So far, the Spokesman, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, has neglected both the implied threat of Matt Shea’s “drop box training” and the Michael Flynn “ReAwaken America” gathering of election fraud crazies in Post Falls on September 16-17.
P.P.S. For more of a flavor of what Matt Shea has been up to since he resigned from the legislature check out these two posts put together by StrongerTogetherSpokane:
If you wonder about the Shea’s daily Redoubt posting, visit https://redoubtnews.com/ and view look the top of the page. This code must mean something to some of the Redoubt News readers—and Shea takes himself seriously. Is he still, as he was accused before he left the legislature, plotting insurrection? Is he still training “Team Rugged”?
P.P.P.S. Earlier local Republican efforts to demonstrate alleged election fraud made national news. Check out:
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