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🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔 posts about Project 2025

Inside the Trump Plan for 2025

In a well-researched piece for the New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer writes about the “network of well-funded far-right activists” who are making plans for Trump’s second term. It’s more than just Project 2025 and the Heritage Foundation — and as his first term showed, it’s not necessarily about what Trump himself wants, it’s that the chaos that surrounds him creates opportunities for these ultra-conservatives to wreck havoc on the freedoms enjoyed by Americans.

I can’t decide which of the plans in these three excerpts is most terrifying:

Stephen Miller, at America First Legal, has been devising plans to enact a nationwide crackdown on immigration, just as he had hoped to carry out on a vast scale in the first Trump term. The impediment then was operational: a lack of personnel to make arrests, a shortage of space to detain people, resistance from Democratic officials at the state and local levels. Miller has since vowed to increase deportations by a factor of ten, to a million people a year, according to the Times. The President would have to deputize federal troops to carry out the job, because there wouldn’t be enough agents at the Department of Homeland Security to do it. The government would need to build large internment camps, and, in the event that Congress refused to appropriate the money required, the President would have to divert funds from the military.

The person close to C.P.I. considered himself a denizen of the far-right wing of the Republican Party, yet some of the ideas under discussion among those working on Project 2025 genuinely scared him. One of them was what he described to me as “all this talk, still, about bombing Mexico and taking military action in Mexico.” This had apparently come up before, during the first Trump term, in conversations about curbing the country’s drug cartels. The President had been mollified but never dissuaded. According to Mike Pompeo, his former Secretary of State, Trump once asked, “How would we do if we went to war with Mexico?”

Those close to Trump are also anticipating large protests if he wins in November. His first term was essentially bookended by demonstrations, from the Women’s March and rallies against the Muslim ban to the mass movement that took to the streets after the murder of George Floyd, in the summer of 2020. Jeffrey Clark and others have been working on plans to impose a version of the Insurrection Act that would allow the President to dispatch troops to serve as a national police force. Invoking the act would allow Trump to arrest protesters, the person told me. Trump came close to doing this in the final months of his term, in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, but he was blocked by his Secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

You don’t even need to be a scholar of authoritarianism to recognize where this is going — it’s not like they are being secretive about it.

a sea of white people, mostly women, holding signs at the 2024 RNC that say 'mass deportations now!'

Project 2025: The Minority Rule by Extremists

I’ve been waiting, sitting at my desk with hands tented, for historian Heather Cox Richardson to write about Project 2025 and just now I found out that she did so back in March, because of course.

In almost 1,000 pages, the document explains what these policies mean for ordinary Americans. Restoring the family and protecting children means making “family authority, formation, and cohesion” a top priority and using “government power…to restore the American family.” That, the document says, means eliminating any words associated with sexual orientation or gender identity, gender, abortion, reproductive health, or reproductive rights from any government rule, regulation, or law. Any reference to transgenderism is “pornography” and must be banned.

The overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion must be gratefully celebrated, the document says, but the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision accomplishing that end “is just the beginning.”

Dismantling the administrative state in this document starts from the premise that “people are policy.” Frustrated because nonpartisan civil employees thwarted much of Trump’s agenda in his first term, the authors of Project 2025 call for firing much of the current government workforce-about 2 million people work for the U.S. government-and replacing it with loyalists who will carry out a right-wing president’s demands.

On Friday, journalist Daniel Miller noted that purging the civil service is a hallmark of dictators, whose loyalists then take over media, education, courts, and the military. In a powerful essay today, scholar of authoritarianism Timothy Snyder explained that with the government firmly in the hands of a dictator’s loyalists, “things like water or schools or Social Security checks” depend on your declaration of loyalty, and there is no recourse. “You cannot escape to the bar or the bowling alley, since everything you say is monitored,” and “[e]ven courageous people restrain themselves to protect their children.”

It’s worth reading in full. I wish Richardson did better at citing her sources than an unordered list of links at the end of each article (and also, I wish she weren’t on Substack), so here’s the Daniel Miller note from the excerpt above:

You know who else purged the civil service: Orbán, Erdoğan, Chávez, Milosevic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Pinochet… There was also this guy in Germany in 1933 who purged the civil service months after taking power.

And here’s Timothy Snyder on dictators and declarations of loyalty:

The new bureaucrats will have no sense of accountability. Basic government functions will break down. Citizens who want access will learn to pay bribes. Bureaucrats in office thanks to patronage will be corrupt, and citizens will be desperate. Quickly the corruption becomes normal, even unquestioned.

As the fantasy of strongman rule fades into everyday dictatorship, people realize that they need things like water or schools or Social Security checks. Insofar as such goods are available under a dictatorship, they come with a moral as well as a financial price. When you go to a government office, you will be expected to declare your personal loyalty to the strongman.

If you have a complaint about these practices, too bad. Americans are litigious people, and many of us assume that we can go to the police or sue. But when you vote a strong man in, you vote out the rule of law. In court, only loyalism and wealth will matter. Americans who do not fear the police will learn to do so. Those who wear the uniform must either resign or become the enforcers of the whims of one man.

Project 2025 in a Nutshell

Yesterday I posted about The Terrifying Project 2025, the conservative plan to reshape America in the event of Trump’s victory in November. Marisa Kabas wrote a great one-sentence summary of the project:

Project 2025 is conservatives’ vision for an American society that’s a result of gutting all the gains made by the civil rights, abortion rights, LGBTIA+ rights, voting rights and environmental rights movements in order to establish an authoritarian government run by loyalists committed to serving a white, Christian nationalist agenda.

What I like about that description is that the authors of the plan wouldn’t really disagree with it. The plan’s uncomplicated & proud sincerity in wanting to roll back all the rights fought for in this country since the 1950s is what makes it so alarming.

The Terrifying Project 2025

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on Project 2025, the extremist conservative plan for America if Trump wins the 2024 election — a wish-list to continue their fascist takeover of America.

One key goal of Project 2025 is to purge all government agencies of anyone more loyal to the constitution than to Trump — a process Trump himself started in October 2020 when he thought he would remain in office.

Trump has promised to give rightwing evangelical Christians what they want. Accordingly, Project 2025 calls for withdrawing the abortion pill mifepristone from the market, expelling trans service members from the military, banning life-saving gender affirming care for young people, ending all diversity programs, and using “school choice” to gut public education.

Project 2025 also calls for eliminating “woke propaganda” from all laws and federal regulations — including the terms “sexual orientation”, “diversity, equity, and inclusion”, “gender equality”, and “reproductive rights”.

Other items in the Project 2025 blueprint are precisely what Trump has called for on the campaign trail, including mass arrests and deportations of undocumented people in the United States, ending many worker protections, dropping prosecutions of far-right militias like the Proud Boys, and giving additional tax cuts to big corporations and the rich.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that climate change is a “hoax”. Project 2025 calls for expanding oil drilling in the United States, shrinking the geographic footprint of national monuments, terminating clean energy incentives, and ending fossil fuel regulations.

Trump has said he’d seek vengeance against those who have prosecuted him for his illegal acts. Project 2025 calls for the prosecution of district attorneys Trump doesn’t like, and the takeover of law enforcement in blue cities and states.

The 900-page document was prepared by Heritage Foundation, whose president stated recently on a right-wing podcast that “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be”. (This is the same logic used by abusers: “Why did you make me do that to you?”)

[The Wikipedia article about Project 2025 seems like a pretty good summary with lots of direct quotes and citations.]

This all sounds sort of alarmist until you actually read what’s written in the document, like this passage on abortions:

Because liberal states have now become sanctuaries for abortion tourism, HHS should use every available tool, including the cutting of funds, to ensure that every state reports exactly how many abortions take place within its borders, at what gestational age of the child, for what reason, the mother’s state of residence, and by what method.

It’s like that old bit of advice: “When people show you who they are, believe them”. Conservatives are literally telling us their plans for exacting a fascist regime under Trump…we should believe them.

More on Project 2025 from John Oliver:

The consequences of Schedule F could be catastrophic for the government. As Jacqueline Simon, the policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, put it: “There will be a massive exodus of competence.”

“When you fire everyone who knows what they’re doing and only hire people who will say yes to the rich guy in charge, that’s not a recipe for good government,” Oliver added. “It’s a recipe for the Titan submersible.”

With a civil service full of loyalty appointees, Trump wouldn’t need Congress to pass a national ban on abortion drugs, for example, when his head of the Food and Drug Administration could just rule them “unsafe” — a plan specifically outlined in Project 2025.

Education Week simply states one of Project 2025’s goals: “The U.S. Department of Education would be eliminated.”

Politico: Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration:

The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 offers more visibility into what policy agenda a future Trump administration might pursue. It says policies that support LGBTQ+ rights, subsidize “single-motherhood” and penalize marriage should be repealed because subjective notions of “gender identity” threaten “Americans’ fundamental liberties.”

It also proposes increasing surveillance of abortion and maternal mortality reporting in the states, compelling the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of “chemical abortion drugs” and protecting “religious and moral” objections for employers who decline contraception coverage for employees. One of the groups that partners with Project 2025, Turning Point USA, is among conservative influencers that health professionals have criticized for targeting young women with misleading health concerns about hormonal birth control. Another priority is defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care to low-income women.

The Guardian: US hard-right policy group condemned for ‘dehumanising’ anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric:

Purveyors of pornography, Roberts writes, “are child predators and misogynistic exploiters of women. Their product is as addictive as any illicit drug and as psychologically destructive as any crime. Pornography should be outlawed. The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered.”

And I found these two pieces helpful in explaining the plan: Project 2025: A wish list for a Trump presidency, explained (BBC) and Project 2025, the policy substance behind Trump’s showmanship, reveals a radical plan to reshape the world (The Conversation).