Project 2025 Part 1: Background

As the US gears up for its Presidential election in November, what’s behind Project 2025?

Project 2025 - Part 1: Background
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This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Project 2025

You might have heard about “Project 2025[1]Project 2025: Presidential Transition Project” in passing. It’s not something that Donald Trump has explicitly mentioned or endorsed but the sheer number of Trump supporters listed in the contributor’s section means that it’s certainly on his radar.

I doubt Trump’s read the entire thing as it’s 920 pages long and Trump famously doesn’t read[2]The Atlantic: The President Who Doesn’t Read but he’s been using rhetoric from their doctrine[3]MSNBC: ‘It’s very well-thought-out’: Authoritarian expert breaks down dangers of Project 2025 (YouTube) in his recent campaign speeches.

Project 2025 has the potential to deeply affect the political landscape in America for decades to come, turning what once touted itself as “The greatest democracy in the world[4]Salon: Is America the “world’s greatest democracy”? In 2022, we don’t even crack the top 50” into a authoritarian state where its citizens have little-to-no control over how their government is run and who is running it.

With Nikki Hayley pulling out of the race for to become the Republican presidential nominee[5]Politico: Nikki Haley drops out of Republican primary for the 2024 election, this gives Trump and his Project 2025 adjacent ideology a direct run at the White House in November.

So, what is Project 2025, what does it hope to achieve and how is it going to achieve it – assuming a Republican wins the election or course.

Where Did Project 2025 Come From?

Project 2025 is the brainchild of The Heritage Foundation[6]The Heritage Foundation which self describes as “The World’s Leading Think Tank for Policy Impact”.

The foundation was formed in 1973 and rose to prominence (and power) during Ronald Regan’s presidency where they provided his administration with over 2,000 policy suggestions getting 60% of them implemented [7]Wikipedia: The Heritage Foundation.

A lot of the policies were aimed at reducing the size (and therefore overreach) of the Government, developing policies to assist anti-communist foreign nations and other conservative policies.

The Heritage Foundation was also a strong proponent in both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and extremely anti-affordable healthcare for both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

Recommended  The Scandals And Lies Of George Santos

Interestingly The Heritage Foundation did not initially embrace Trump after he started to campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015 with Heritage Action leader Michael Needham calling Trump a “clown”[8]Mediaite: Fox Panel Dines Out on Trump’s Comments: ‘Despicable,’ ‘Clown’ during one interview. After Trump won the nomination though, their thinking changed and they sought to influence both the President-to-be and his Administration by getting their own people put into positions of power[9]New York Times: How One Conservative Think Tank Is Stocking Trump’s Government.

The Heritage Foundation started to lose steam during the pandemic with it refusing to publish anti-COVID restriction pieces, closing their own offices down and even putting up signage asking people to wear masks which confused and angered a lot of the foundation’s supporters.

The then foundation president, Kay Coles, was abruptly replaced with someone more in tune with their backer’s views on the pandemic[10]Washington Post: Heritage Foundation, former powerhouse of GOP policy, adjusts in face of new competition from Trump allies.

Trump ran on a platform of “draining the swamp[11]Business Insider: Here’s what Trump means when he says ‘drain the swamp’ — even though it’s not an accurate metaphor”, blaming the “Deep State” for a variety of problems and railing against “Cultural Marxism[12]Daily Dot: What Is Cultural Marxism—and where did the term come from?” which struck a deep chord with a large number of Conservative Republicans and seeing how popular this rhetoric was The Heritage Foundation embraced these ideologies with open arms.

This change in view, taking these Trumpist dog whistles as their own policies instead of having Trump accept their own policy recommendations, has lead The Heritage Foundation to create “Project 2025” which is firmly based on Trump’s rhetoric.

A Brief Background To Project 2025

“The 2025 Presidential Transition Project is the conservative movement’s unified effort to be ready for the next conservative Administration to govern at 12:00 noon, January 20, 2025[13]Mandate For Leadership: The Conservative Promise, 2023, xiii

Project 2025 is built on what they call “Four Pillars”[14]Mandate For Leadership, xiv:

  1. Policy: Looks at how federal agencies are run and allow the President to direct these agencies without interference or oversight
  2. Personnel: A database of people who can be parachuted into agencies to replace existing staff
  3. Preparation: The creation of a “Presidential Administration Academy” which is an online portal to teach people the functions of various government departments and roles so they can be added to the personnel database and placed in positions as needed
  4. Playbook: Forming teams and transition plans so that they are ready to move the moment the President is sworn in and completing their plans within 180 days of the new Republican President taking office.
Recommended  Project 2025 Part 2: Dismantling Democracy

Within its 920 pages, Project 2025 discusses a variety of ways that they can achieve the goal of a small government stacked with Trump’s friends and family with a very little pushback making a Presidency under Trump a de facto authoritarian dictatorship.

Its 35 named authors (there were “hundreds” of other contributors apparently) come from a range of backgrounds such as law, transition committee members for a variety of politicians, cybersecurity/technology and economics to name but a few.

Why Does America “Need” Project 2025?

In his forward Kevin D. Roberts likens current day America to a pre-Regan era where lawlessness abounds, everyone is on drugs and the political class is dishonest and corrupt.

The statement about dishonesty and corruption is rather ironic given the number of legal cases Trump has been (or still is) involved in[15]The Guardian: Donald Trump case tracker: where does each investigation stand? which are:

  • That Trump owes $88.3 million for a defamation suit he lost against E. Jean Carroll[16]AP News: Donald Trump is on the hook for $88.3 million in defamation damages. What happens next?
  • Has a $454 million judgement against him for fraudulently inflating his net worth[17]Reuters: Trump appeals $454 million judgment NY civil fraud case
  • Is due to have FOUR separate trials for
    • Storing top secret documents in his Mar-a-Lago home
    • Allegedly using campaign funds to pay Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their affair
    • Inciting the January 6th Insurrection and
    • Meddling in the Georgia election

So for Project 2025 to align itself with Trump is certainly a move of convenience and one to ensure power over principles but I digress.

Roberts states that Project 2025 aims to address inequalities affecting low income families, stop “children suffer[ing] the toxic normalization of transgenderism with drag queens and pornography invading their school libraries[18]Mandate For Leadership, Page 1”, stop Beijing’s cultural, and economic Cold War against America’s interests, values, and people” and says that there is a “totalitarian cult known today as ‘The Great Awokening[19]Vox: The Great Awokening'”.

The project aims to[20]Second Thought: Project 2025: The New Fascist Playbook (YouTube):

  1. Restore the the family as the centerpiece of American life and protect children
  2. Dismantle the Administrative State and return self-governance to the people
  3. Defend the nation’s sovereignty, borders and bounty against global threats
  4. Secure people’s God-given individual right to enjoy “blessings of liberty”[21]Mandate For Leadership, page 3

Essentially Project 2025 aims to rid America of wokeism, enshrine “traditional” biblical family values into government policy, revoke recent policies on inclusivity and diversity, ban any mention of sexual orientation and gender identity, reduce the size of the government, reign in government spending, pull out of globalist policies, quash China-backed “big tech” firms and ensure everyone is on a level playing field.

Recommended  Project 2025 Part 7: All Church, No State

So far so good, right? On the surface their policies look more than reasonable – who wouldn’t want to the government to spend less which puts more money in our pockets, or stop the Chinese government spying on US citizens through their apps?

The problem is, when you start looking into the actual policies they’re proposing it starts to get pretty sinister, pretty fast.

In Part 2 of this series we take a look at what Project 2025’s version of democracy in the United states looks like.

Download "Analysing Authoritarianism: Project 2025’s Policies & The 'Mandate For Leadership'" For Free

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References

References
1 Project 2025: Presidential Transition Project
2 The Atlantic: The President Who Doesn’t Read
3 MSNBC: ‘It’s very well-thought-out’: Authoritarian expert breaks down dangers of Project 2025 (YouTube)
4 Salon: Is America the “world’s greatest democracy”? In 2022, we don’t even crack the top 50
5 Politico: Nikki Haley drops out of Republican primary
6 The Heritage Foundation
7 Wikipedia: The Heritage Foundation
8 Mediaite: Fox Panel Dines Out on Trump’s Comments: ‘Despicable,’ ‘Clown’
9 New York Times: How One Conservative Think Tank Is Stocking Trump’s Government
10 Washington Post: Heritage Foundation, former powerhouse of GOP policy, adjusts in face of new competition from Trump allies
11 Business Insider: Here’s what Trump means when he says ‘drain the swamp’ — even though it’s not an accurate metaphor
12 Daily Dot: What Is Cultural Marxism—and where did the term come from?
13 Mandate For Leadership: The Conservative Promise, 2023, xiii
14 Mandate For Leadership, xiv
15 The Guardian: Donald Trump case tracker: where does each investigation stand?
16 AP News: Donald Trump is on the hook for $88.3 million in defamation damages. What happens next?
17 Reuters: Trump appeals $454 million judgment NY civil fraud case
18 Mandate For Leadership, Page 1
19 Vox: The Great Awokening
20 Second Thought: Project 2025: The New Fascist Playbook (YouTube)
21 Mandate For Leadership, page 3

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