As The Washington Post experiences, the origin story of Powell’s mythology doesn’t begin with Giuliani, Powell, or anybody else who made an look at 4 Seasons Landscaping. The person behind the story is a longtime Republican hustler named Russell Ramsland who has bounced amongst wildly totally different jobs in his effort to seek out “the subsequent large factor.” That features elevating cattle on South Pacific islands, promoting Tex-Mex delicacies in London, and rising crystals in area.
However in 2018, Ramsland was hooking into an actual progress market, as a result of that’s when he started promoting Republicans on the concept that there was an enormous conspiracy to steal elections utilizing digital voting machines. The 2018 midterm elections had simply handed the Home over to Democrats and left Republicans with aching losses on the state stage in areas they thought had been safely crimson. That is the purpose the place events historically do a autopsy of the previous election and resolve to make modifications to enhance their efficiency within the subsequent spherical.
Solely Republicans—particularly state- and county-level Republicans in locations like Texas—already appeared satisfied that Trump was supported by 101% of the American individuals, making the outcomes of the election incomprehensible. They didn’t go in search of, “How can we do higher?” They went in search of, “How did we get cheated?” And Ramsland was there, with prime secret hearings performed in an out of the best way airplane hanger below strict “no digital gadgets” safety.
At these hearings, lots of of Republicans “discovered” what the remainder of the nation must wait two years to see blurted out whereas hair dye poured down Giuliani’s face: Republicans had really gained all these races they thought they misplaced in 2018, solely digital voting machines had been altering the leads to favor of Democrats. All voting machines, in accordance with Ramsland, had been really primarily based on the identical code—code written by the firm “Smartmatic.” That widespread code base meant that every one the machines had been “broad open,” crammed with “backdoors,” and ripe for fraud.
None of that is, after all, true. Nicely earlier than the hangar periods, Ramsland had been attempting to interrupt into what he noticed because the profitable new area of promoting Republicans bog-foolish conspiracy theories. That included claims that the deaths of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi had been really an intentional transfer by the “deep state,” and a supervillain origin story for George Soros that included Prescott Bush and the Muslim Brotherhood. However Ramsland noticed his alternative when met an Austin metropolis council candidate who misplaced her race by a 30-point margin (after, amongst different issues, speaking about 9/11 being an inside job). That candidate “knew in her coronary heart that she had gained” and was waving round audit logs of voting machines in Austin that she claimed backed up her “coronary heart.”
When the candidate took her case to courtroom, she misplaced. And appealed. And never solely misplaced, however was slapped with a positive for bringing a frivolous go well with. Even so, Ramsland knew an excellent story when he noticed one. The “proof” that the failed candidate offered in her failed courtroom case turned a core a part of Ramsland’s preliminary pitch to annoyed Republicans; a pitch that mentioned even somebody who misplaced by 30 factors would possibly actually be the winner if it wasn’t for the crooked machines.
Ramsland cooked it up good. Not solely had been the conferences held at a secret location in a windowless hangar, and never solely the place the attendees required to go away all digital gadgets outdoors—as soon as his flock of GOP sheep arrived, they had been greeted a “white hat hacker” who recognized himself utilizing solely a code title. That hacker then unfold out a story that informed Republicans they had been all winners. They couldn’t fail. They might solely be cheated.
Quickly sufficient Ramsland’s firm, Allied Safety Operations Group, took the present on the highway for large cash Republican donors. And Ramsland lastly had what he couldn’t discover promoting burritos on Fleet Avenue or pitching machines to purify blood with mild: a successful funding. Allied Safety Operations Group panhandled from Republicans desperate to imagine that each loss was a conspiracy, and gained the help of such good GOP luminaries as Rep. Louie Gohmert.
And when 2020 got here round, Ramsland discovered that he had a candidate on his arms who was completely excellent: determined, keen to imagine something that mentioned he was a winner, and in a position to lay his arms on limitless marketing campaign funds.
And a hardworking con man lastly had his final pigeon.