In April 2023, The Heritage Foundation published a comprehensive 920-page plan for the next Republican president to “rescue the country from the grip of the radical Left,” according to Project 2025’s website.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has been very influential in public policy decisions since its founding in 1973 and was especially significant during the Reagan Era. In January of 1981, the Heritage Foundation published A Mandate for Leadership, which included over 2,000 policy suggestions that were so well received by President Reagan that about 60% of them were implemented or initiated by the end of his first year in office. Paul Dans, director of Project 2025, has said that it has been largely inspired by A Mandate for Leadership, though its goals are far more extreme.
Project 2025 plans to mass-fire federal workers and replace them strictly with Trump loyalists who have undergone a conservative “training program” that ensures they will be good Trump-supporting bureaucrats. This would, if all goes according to plan, discharge any dissident bureaucrats that could block executive branch decisions, or, as conservatives prefer to call it, dismantle the “deep state.” It plans to completely eliminate the Department of Education in an effort to further promote “parent choice” in schooling, which essentially consists of indoctrinating children into conservatism. It plans to centralize power to the White House over a largely reduced federal bureaucracy. It plans to significantly reduce the funding of agencies that have been “weaponized” against conservatives (or attempted to hold them accountable), like the FBI and the Department of Justice. It plans to undo the few environmental regulations Congress has successfully passed (the Heritage Foundation receives much of its funding from fossil fuel billionaires the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil, but that’s probably unrelated).
All this to say: although Project 2025 could be written off as a manifesto of far-right extremism that is nearly harmless, it actually holds a significant amount of power and has already gained approval from both Trump campaign officials, who say it aligns well with his own agenda, and from prospective conservative presidential candidates. However, even the agenda’s authors, including president of the Heritage Foundation Kevin Roberts, admit that carrying out this plan “requires controlling not just the White House but both chambers of Congress.” Thus, it is highly unlikely that much of the agenda will actually be implemented, but it does indicate a troubling trend towards extreme, arguably authoritarian, viewpoints in the Republican party. Because of how radical its policies are, even a relatively small success rate could be detrimental to U.S. democracy.
So, yeah, we should be a little worried.
Haley Marshlick is a sophomore at Franklin and Marshall. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org