Project 2025 poses threat to democracy

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and a freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party. 

NBC News recently compared where President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump stand on a multitude of issues of importance, ranging from abortion to health care reform, housing, climate change, education, crime, trade, immigration, taxes, foreign policy, student loan debt, and much more.

One issue missing from the NBC News report has become a focal point for the Biden camp: democracy vs. authoritarianism. Will the duly elected president inaugurated on January 20, 2025 keep the U.S. as a democracy, in line with centuries of tradition? Or will that day be the start of a shift toward authoritarian governance or fascism?

If you’ve not heard of Project 2025, it’s very worthy of your independent investigation. Project 2025 is a playbook (a “comprehensive policy guide”) created for Donald Trump and his minions to use in the first 180 days of a second Trump administration. The far-right Heritage Foundation proudly takes credit for facilitating the 887-page document on how to turn a democracy into an authoritarian country.

While editing Project 2025, Paul Dans and Steven Groves had assistance from 34 authors, 277 contributors, a 54 member advisory board and a coalition of more than 100 conservative organizations (including ALEC, The Heartland Institute, Liberty University, Middle East Forum, Moms for Liberty, NRA, Pro-Life America, and the Tea Party Patriots).

Project 2025 represents a serious effort to make America a fascist country if Trump returns to the White House. The Trump campaign recently posted (and later deleted) a video on Trump’s Truth Social media account depicting the former president’s 2025-2029 administration as a “Unified Reich.” (That phrase evokes Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, which ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945.)

You can download the full text of Project 2025’s “Mandate for Leadership” from the organization’s website. The manuscript spells out what Trump should do from January 20 to July 18, 2025. Its 30 chapters are a disconcerting read.

Among other things, Project 2025 proposes to eliminate the U.S. Departments of Education and Commerce, deploy the U.S. military whenever protests erupt, and dismantle the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The federal government would also remove all protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and would terminate all affirmative action policies and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Additional mandates include: siphoning off billions of public school funding, funding vouchers to pay for private school tuition, phasing out public education’s Title 1 program, gutting the nation’s free school meals program, eliminating Head Start, banning books, suppressing any curriculum that discusses the evils of slavery.

Project 2025 also calls for banning abortion (which would make women second-class citizens), restricting access to contraception, forcing would-be immigrants to be detained in concentration camps, and eliminating Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. The Trump administration would recruit 54,000 loyal Republicans to replace existing federal civil servants, and would end the separation of church and state, a bedrock constitutional principle.

In a Politico article from February, Alexander Ward and Heidi Przybyla described Project 2025 as an authoritarian Christian nationalist movement and a path for the U.S. to become an autocracy. Several legal experts have indicated implementing the 180-day plan would undermine the rule of law and the separation of powers.

As noted earlier, Project 2025 is worthy of your independent investigation. In order to recognize authoritarianism in action, please consider reading one research-based book per month for the next five months as pre-election homework. Here’s my suggested reading list:

June: On Tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century, Timothy Snyder, 2017; a quick read and #1 New York Times best seller.

July: Twilight of Democracy: The seductive lure of authoritarianism, Anne Applebaum, 2020; chapters IV, V and VI get to the bottom line.

August: Democracy Awakening: Notes on the state of America, Heather Cox Richardson, 2023; with 319 reference sources, it’s a credible and informative book.

September: Attack from within: How disinformation is sabotaging America, Barbara McQuade, 2024; the 1,717 citations proves this book is well researched.

October: 1984, George Orwell, 1949; Orwell’s novel shows Americans what life would be like under oppressive totalitarian rule.

Reading even one of theoe books will enable you to discern political candidate and party-based disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda from truth. It will inspire you to vote on November 5 and keep America a democracy.

Top graphic denoting democracy or autocracy symbol is by Dmitry Demidovich, available via Shutterstock.

About the Author(s)

Steve Corbin

  • Congress?

    This would appear to set up the all-time confrontation with Congress should the Democrats control even one house. Trump talked about “adjourning Congress” during his term. He may really mean it this time.