Project 2025: Professor Explains Why the Ring-Wing Plan to Dismantle the Government Is Dangerous

By: Amanda Kusumowidagdo | Published: Jun 08, 2024

When you read about Project 2025, it’s easy to dismiss it as a conspiracy theory. But according to Georgetown University historian Thomas Zimmer, the threat of Project 2025 is very real. 

“Project 2025” is essentially a threat to the official U.S. government and democracy in general. It’s an authoritarian takeover plan by the right-wing of the American government. And it’s quite terrifying to contemplate.

Right-Wing Campaigns and Projects

According to Professor Zimmer, the Right have been preparing several separate plans, and different factions are competing against one another to execute them. Among these planning efforts, one called “Project 2025” was launched in April 2022 under the leadership of the Heritage Foundation. 

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The Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts holding a microphone

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“Project 2025” stands out because it unites the conservative movement and “the machine of think tanks as well as activist and lobbying groups behind the goal of installing a more effective, more ruthless rightwing regime.”

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High-Profile Members

The project has high-profile members in the Advisory Board, listing over 100 right-wing organizations and institutions. Among them are Alliance Defending Freedom, America First Legal Foundation, Center for Renewing America, Claremont Institute, Hillsdale College, Liberty University, Moms for Liberty and many others.

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Various logos of organizations supporting Project 2025

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The plan envisions a vast expansion of presidential power over the executive branch. It also seeks to dismantle certain parts of government, the administrative state, and federal agencies while simultaneously mobilizing and weaponizing others. Lastly, the project is a promise of a purge of anyone in the government not all in on “the Trumpist project.”

920-Page Published Report

Contents of “Project 2025” have been published in a 920-page report titled “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise.” It consists of four pillars. The first is a policy agenda spelled out in the report. The second is a personnel database to build an army of loyalists. The third is a “training effort” with online courses called the “Presidential Administration Academy” to implement the right-wing agenda.

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A stack of books titled Mandate for Leadership

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And the fourth is “a playbook of actions to be taken in the first 180 days of the new Administration to bring quick relief to Americans suffering from the Left’s devastating policies.” This last pillar is still vague, seemingly awaiting further instructions for a future action.

Real Threat in Uncharted Territory

But is it a real threat? Zimmer said, “With a lot of what ‘Project 2025’ envisions, we are in uncharted territory.” The project’s existence is evidence that the American Right has concrete plans and a detailed strategy to take over and transform the legal government into a machine.

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Donald Trump photographed from the back waving to his supporters

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That machine would serve only two purposes, according to Zimmer. The first is autocratic revenge against the “woke” enemy. The second is the imposition of a reactionary vision for society against the will of the majority.

Warning From Donald Trump’s 'Schedule F'

Shortly before the 2020 election, Donald Trump signed an executive order called “Schedule F.” It was rescinded immediately by President Joe Biden as he took office before it could do any real damage.

The letter F in red on a white background

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But “Schedule F” is a real example of how Trump and the Right might be able to expand presidential power and establish total control of the government. Right-wingers are said to be determined to execute it as soon as they get another opportunity.

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What Would Happen If 'Schedule F' Were Executed

If Schedule F came into effect, it would convert tens of thousands of career civil service positions into political appointments. It would start with anyone in a policy-adjacent position or policy advisory role.

Diverse multiracial people sitting at their desks using computers

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The goal is to strip these people of their civil service protections and make them fireable. Then, they would be fired. There would no longer be independent experts and competent bureaucrats. Of course, these positions would then have to be filled with “conservative warriors.” This explains why the project also involves building a personnel database.

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Dismantling the Modern State

“Project 2025” seems like it would stop at nothing to dismantle the modern state. It seeks to deprive the government of the ability to install boundaries to build wealth, create a diverse society or tackle the most urgent public policy crises.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the members of the Presidential Cabinet posing at the White House Grand Foyer

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One example is how the Right called for the elimination of the Department of Education. Another example is how they also mock the climate crisis as “climate fanaticism.” It’s also evident in how the Left is seen to be promoting “gender radicalism” and abortion.

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Punish and Purge 'Woke' Enemies

Not only that, but “Project 2025” also wants to mobilize and weaponize the government as an effort to punish and purge “woke” enemies. It wants to reestablish the white Christian patriarchy as an order for American society.

A person wearing The Purge mask sitting on a chair beside an open door

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For the Right, concepts like labor policy are seen as a mere tool to create more room for legal discrimination in the workplace. For example, the project demands that the President “rescind regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status and sex characteristics.”

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No Pluralism, No Diversity

Zimmer pointed out that what readers would find in the “Project 2025” report is a blatant contempt for any kind of pluralism and diversity. This contempt would then be channeled into a policy agenda aiming to extinguish the concepts.

An illustration of Project 2025 concept with a man carrying a firearm, a cutout head of Donald Trump and KKK cult members in the background

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What it amounts to is a laundry list of “right-wing culture war grievances,” beginning with diversity, equity and inclusion and ending with trans people. And it wants the government takeover to succeed so the government can’t facilitate “egalitarian pluralism.”

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What if Trump Doesn’t Get Reelected?

Would the threat of “Project 2025” be eliminated if Trump doesn’t get reelected? Not really. “Project 2025 captures a broad consensus on the Right that radical, extreme measures against what they see as fundamentally illegitimate, ‘un-American,’ ‘woke’ Left are not only justified but urgently necessary,” said Zimmer.

A blue flag with the writing Trump 2024

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A presidential election loss won’t change their perceptions. Instead, it’s bound to heighten their feelings of being under siege and driving them to act out against the government. Besides, Zimmer added, “Project 2025” was not intended specifically for Trump. It was just supposed to be a blueprint for whoever the next conservative president is.

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The Stakes Are Higher

“Project 2025” would undoubtedly turn the U.S. into a nastier and more dangerous and hostile place for anyone not aligned with the Right. But according to Zimmer, that’s what’s really at stake in the upcoming elections.

An illustration of the current political situation in the U.S. with Democrat vs Republican no longer the opponents but America vs MAGA Fascisms as combatants

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It’s not about Biden vs. Trump. It’s more about “whether […] the promise of a truly democratic, pluralistic, multiracial society should be continued or abolished altogether,” Zimmer said. Those are the real stakes.

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