Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are simply players in a corrupt system designed to keep outsiders — in particular, Libertarians — from achieving political success, according to a multi-millionaire tech entrepreneur who has teamed with a documentary filmmaker to prove it.
Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com, a $400 million online retail company, is bankrolling much of a $1 million film that will disparage the Republican and Democrat parties, some of the media, pollsters and others who they think are in the tank for the two major parties and unfair to Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson.
The movie, Rigged 2016, is produced and executive produced by Jeff Hays, whose first foray into documentary filmmaking was Fahrenhype 9/11, a movie that sought to debunk claims made in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Hays met Byrne when Overstock.com purchased rights to Fahrenhype 9/11 and the outlet sold 500,000 DVD copies of the film in a three-week period just prior to the 2004 presidential election that pitted George W. Bush against John Kerry.
See photos of Gary Johnson:
Gary Johnson through the years
Gary Johnson through the years
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
File-This Nov. 3, 2011 file photo shows former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson addressing the 2011 Drug Policy Alliance conference in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 it was announced that Johnson had been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, addresses an audience of students and the public at Macalester College, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in St. Paul, Minn. Johnson, a former two-term New Mexico governor, is on a nationwide college tour as part of his campaign for president. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, prepare prior to a debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
FILE - In this Sept 23, 2011 file-pool photo, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in Orlando, Fla. The Libertarian Johnson is running for president a second time after winning more than a million votes in 2012. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in front of the Statehouse Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Concord, N.H. Gov. Johnson says he has the resume needed to lead the country. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, shown at the Inn of Loretto, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1999, in Santa Fe, N.M. Insurance companies that back a ``no pay, no play'' proposal, promoted by Gov. Gary Johnson, say they would save money if uninsured drivers were barred from making big claims. Under the legislation, insurance companies would be required to file new rates taking into account their anticipated savings from the new law in August. (AP Photo/Laura Husar)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, makes a joke about the first time he met New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, right, as he addresses a crowd at a barbecue June 19, 1998, in support of Johnson's re-election campaign in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson enters the Roswell Convention Center Thursday, July 3, 1997 surrounded by aliens. The governor and his family visited Roswell to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of eth Roswell incident.(AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
Byrne, a sometimes controversial figure for his criticism — some would say conspiracy theories — of the intersection of Wall Street and government, is wading into filmmaking for the first time with Rigged 2016, but says he's considering more such investments, including making narrative films that would promote his libertarian values.
"I would like to make movies that have a point to them," says Byrne, who adds he is fiscally conservative and socially liberal and acknowledges that a dozen years ago he was Utah's largest contributor to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Rigged 2016, which will feature interviews with Glenn Beck and footage of Rachel Maddow and other prominent people in the news media, will get a theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles in early October then go free online thereafter.
Since November, another documentarian, James Greenwood, has been embedded with the Johnson campaign, and Hays and Byrne have licensed his behind-the-scenes video and brought him aboard as a producer on Rigged 2016.
Their goal with Rigged 2016 is to expose the masses to Johnson and help him to get his poll numbers high enough to be invited to the presidential debates, which right now include only Democratic nominee Clinton and Republican nominee Trump.
"The big lie is we only have two choices," says Byrne. "Let the people compare him to the other two. He'll mop the floor with them."
Byrne and Hays even see a "bank-shot" path to the White House for Johnson, who is polling around 8 percent nationally, though he's at 14 percent in Colorado and 26 percent in Utah, where Byrne lives.
"If Johnson can win 3 to 5 states and Clinton and Trump fight to something close to a tie and neither gets the majority of electoral votes, it goes to the House of Representatives, where Democrats will prefer Gary to Trump and Republicans will prefer Gary over Hillary," says Byrne.
Outside of favoring the Libertarian candidate, Rigged 2016 is striving to be non-partisan when it comes to Democrats and Republicans. "There's no footage of Trump making an ass of himself or Hillary looking bad," Hays promises.