As former Republican U.S. President Donald Trump campaigns with openly fascist rhetoric, a research and advocacy group on Monday published an exposé of the Heritage Foundation-led 2025 Presidential Transition Project.
Project 2025, as it is also known, builds on Heritage’s latest Mandate for Leadership, a series which since the Reagan administration has served as the right-wing think tank’s to-do list for the next Republican president.
The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) put out a detailed analysis of Project 2025, which the group described as a “far-right playbook for American authoritarianism” and “a threat to a multiracial, diverse democracy.”
Across 13 sections, the GPAHE report introduces the project, explains the role of Christian nationalism, and details efforts to gut the civil service, reverse progress on racial equality, eviscerate LGBTQ+ rights, restrict reproductive freedom, impose hardline immigration rules, roll back climate action, end “woke” military policies, overhaul public education, and curb human rights.
The analysis also features a full list of organizational supporters and profiles of key backers, including the Family Research Council, Heartland Institute, Moms for Liberty, and Turning Point USA.
“The path to authoritarianism usually first involves democratic backsliding, propelled by political figures and parties with authoritarian instincts who employ specific tactics,” the report states. “These factors are evident in Project 2025, which explicitly advocates politicizing independent institutions by replacing the federal bureaucracy with conservative activists and removing independence for many agencies.”
“The entire project is devoted to aggrandizing executive power by centralizing authority in the presidency, and a key aspect of democratic backsliding is viewing opposition elements as attempting to destroy the ‘real’ community, an essential aspect to quashing dissent,” the document continues. “Project 2025 paints progressives and liberals as outside acceptable politics, and not just ideological opponents, but inherently anti-American and ‘replacing American values.’ Targeting vulnerable communities is a core tenet of Project 2025.”
“Project 2025 is very clearly on a path to Christian nationalism as well as authoritarianism. It rejects the constitutional separation of church and state, rather privileging religious beliefs over civil laws. Religious freedom is referenced throughout the plan and is seen to trump all other civil rights which should be subsumed to an individual’s religious rights,” the report adds. “The message that America must remain Christian, that Christianity should enjoy a privileged place in society, and that the government must take steps to ensure this is clear in every section of the plan, as is the idea that American identity cannot be separated from Christianity.”
🚨New! 🚨Project 2025's extremist agenda is a threat to a multiracial, diverse democracy. Read the @globalextremism's analysis of this far-right roadmap for authoritarianism and Christian Nationalism. https://t.co/p0IMUrVMPX
— Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (@globalextremism) November 13, 2023
The document also stresses the role of Trump in degrading U.S. democracy and promoting the policies that the project aims to advance. Trump is facing four criminal cases—two of which relate to his efforts to flip the 2020 election—and lawsuits arguing that he is constitutionally disqualified from holding office again after inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Still, he is the GOP front-runner.
During a Saturday campaign rally, Trump pledged to “root out the communist, Marxist, fascist, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country,” claiming that “the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within.” The comments fueled demands for more serious media coverage of his fascist threats.
Even before Trump’s latest comments, GPAHE co-founder Heidi Beirich argued to Salon last week that given his chances of winning the White House next year, “the public needs to know about policy plans, such as the program being designed for the next conservative president by the Heritage Foundation, called Project 2025.”
Beirich said in a statement Monday that the project “does not reflect the values of the American people, and our plea to political leaders and to the media is to accurately describe Project 2025 as a dangerous and unconstitutional attempt to move us towards an authoritarianism guided by Christian nationalism.”
GPAHE co-founder Wendy Via—who, like Beirich, is an alumna of the Southern Poverty Law Center—similalry said that “voters, political figures, and the media must be on alert that Project 2025 is an authoritarian roadmap to dismantling a thriving, inclusive democracy for all.”
— Wendy Via (@WendyVia) November 13, 2023
The GPAHE report was released as Axiosreported Monday that Trump’s inner circle plans to purge from government “anyone viewed as hostile to the hard-edged, authoritarian-sounding plans he calls ‘Agenda47‘” and his allies “are spending tens of millions of dollars to install a pre-vetted, pro-Trump army of up to 54,000 loyalists” in “legal, judicial, defense, regulatory, and domestic policy jobs.”
“The government-in-waiting is being orchestrated by the Heritage Foundation’s well-funded Project 2025, which already has published a 920-page policy book from 400+ contributors,” the outlet explained. “Heritage president Kevin Roberts tells us his apparatus is ‘orders of magnitude’ bigger than anything ever assembled for a party out of power.”
Trump’s 2024 campaign claimed Monday that his Agenda47 “is the only official comprehensive and detailed look at what President Trump will do when he returns to the White House,” and “while the campaign is appreciative of any effort to provide suggestions about a second term, the campaign is not collaborating with them.”
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