Opinion Putting the ‘big lie’ to bed — in plush, luxurious comfort

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By Dana Milbank
Columnist |
September 16, 2022 at 3:41 p.m. EDT

It feels surreal, as though it were a dream. And yet, it is the sleeper issue of our time.
The guy at the fulcrum of the attempt to smother American democracy is a pillow salesman.
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You’ve no doubt heard of Mike Lindell, the MyPillow founder who has gone from hawking bolsters to bolstering the “big lie.” Only in this land of opportunists could the greatest sham of all be perpetrated by a guy who literally sells shams (“as low as $48.99 w/promo code”).
But finally, the Justice Department is going to the mattresses with the pillow magnate. FBI agents pinned his vehicle while he awaited his order in a Hardee’s drive-through this week and proceeded “to arrest my phone,” as Lindell put it. (He didn’t say whether the confiscated device was read its rights.)
The fast-food chain used the MyPillow drama on its premises to tweet: “You should really try our pillowy biscuits.”
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The feds seized the phone in a probe into Trump allies’ breach of voting machines in Colorado, which state authorities are also investigating. In case you’ve been hitting the snooze button for the past two years, Donald Trump super-fan Lindell is also facing lawsuits by voting-technology companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic. His phone records were subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 committee. And his own defamation suits against Dominion and Smartmatic were dismissed as “frivolous.”

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He has also spent a self-reported $35 million promoting Trump’s election lie in movies, social media and conferences, and he’s a popular warm-up act at Trump rallies.
There is something exquisite about a former professional gambler, recovering crack cocaine addict, showy evangelical (Lindell often wears a cross outside his collar, like an amulet) and pillow kingpin organizing the undoing of democracy. Then consider the assortment of strange bedfellows involved with him in the Colorado scheme: a former professional surfer who claims to be a data expert, a county clerk who used to sell nutritional supplements, an owner of a hair and makeup business, and a high school math teacher who claims to have a secret algorithm.
Once more, we are left to marvel at how all these misfits and grifters find each other — and how they are inevitably drawn, by powerful oddball magnetism, to the charlatan in chief, who has bamboozled tens of millions. This full-employment plan for kooks and hucksters gives new meaning to featherbedding.
Since embracing Trump in 2016, Lindell has made conspiracy craziness his business model. His election lies have lost him tens of millions of dollars in business with respectable retailers such as Walmart, Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond. So he’s recasting himself as niche pillow purveyor to the MAGA right, marketing on Fox News, Newsmax, talk radio and Trump-friendly social media outlets.
But Lindell is going to have to persuade election deniers to buy a whole lot of bedding to offset his lost sales to normal people.
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Perhaps he can convince “preppers” — those readying themselves for the apocalypse that will come when they finish breaking down the rule of law — that in addition to guns and canned food, they should be stockpiling pillows. Maybe they can be coaxed into turning their saferooms into pillow forts!
Trump is again encouraging violence as a political tool, saying that, if he is indicted, there would be “problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before” and saying, “I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”
Lindell, therefore, could do us all a favor by encouraging those planning political violence to leave their guns at home and instead launch a massive pillow fight. There’s no telling how many feathers would be spilled in this revolution.
And if the MyPillow rebellion fails in its efforts to overthrow law and order in the United States? Well, those tampering with voting equipment are going to need quality bedding in prison. Lindell will need a full line of pillows for election deniers — for back liars, side liars and stomach liars alike.
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Those who prefer extra-firm support should go with the MyPillow “Super Max,” designed to last a lifetime sentence or your money back.
Those who favor a softer feel should instead opt for the MyPillow “You’re Going ‘Down’ Alternative.” Its cloud-like feel would be the pillow talk of the jailhouse.
Members of the Cyber Ninjas, who tried to prove that fake ballots were made from Chinese pulp, would be offered the exclusive MyPillow bamboo model.
And those who (like Lindell) want to abolish voting machines entirely would enjoy the security of sleeping on MyPillow’s answer to shredded latex — the shredded ballot pillow.
Then, finally, election deniers would be able to do in comfort what everybody else has long wanted them to do: Give it a rest.