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Project 2025: a wish list for the American Right

Donald Trimp shows off his patriotism at CPAC this week. Credit: Getty

February 25, 2024 - 6:15pm

Commentators have portrayed Project 2025, a conservative plan to recapture the administrative state with a 900-page document explaining how, as a blueprint for Donald Trump’s next term. In particular, critics have zeroed in on its social policies to warn that, should he win the election once again, Trump will ban birth control, among other measures. 

The trouble is that there is no evidence that a second-term President Trump would pay it any attention.

Project 2025 was led by the Heritage Foundation, together with dozens of other conservative advocacy groups, and offers a “consensus view of how major federal agencies must be governed”, as well as bracketed options on issues in which conservatives disagree on the right approach. It provides advice on policy issues ranging from healthcare to agriculture, and from education to international development.  

During his first administration, Trump clashed with right-of-centre think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation over issues including tech regulation, federal spending and the response to George Floyd’s death. Trump’s team has repeatedly distanced itself from the project, stating that the campaign alone will determine his platform, and that supposed allies of the former president are doing him no favours by stirring speculation about his next term. 

Several left-of-centre commentators and outlets have warned that Project 2025 seeks to ban birth control. More accurately, the proposal is to return to a Trump-era rule allowing opt-outs for healthcare providers and insurers who do not wish to provide birth control due to religious or moral objections. The birth control coverage requirement came into effect under Barack Obama, whose administration famously fought a protracted legal battle against Little Sisters of the Poor over the issue. 

Project 2025 also calls for male contraceptives not to be considered a woman’s preventative care service, and for potentially abortifacient forms of emergency contraceptives to be excluded from the government’s mandate — a far cry from making all contraceptives illegal. 

The proposal does, however, include a broad critique of the federal government’s policy on abortion. It calls for enforcing the existing ban on federal funding for abortions and for the Department of Health and Human Services to reverse what Project 2025 considers abortion activism, such as the approval of the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone; it argues the FDA approval process was politically motivated and endangers women’s health. Revoking its authorisation would mean that abortions would be performed surgically rather than chemically. 

Several outlets claimed the project aims to “ban abortion”. While the proposal, if enacted, would certainly make abortion less accessible — for example, by dropping federal regulations that undermine state-level abortion restrictions — it does not suggest an actual ban. In any case, Trump himself has expressed support for legal abortion up to 16 weeks. 

Another source of concern has been the proposed dismantling of the administrative state, which Project 2025 defines as “policymaking work done by the bureaucracies of all the federal government’s departments, agencies, and millions of employees”, instead of democratically elected legislature. The administrative state is wrongly shielded by Congress from presidential discipline, it argues, adding that this can be corrected through mass firings and the closure of corrupt bureaus. Critics have cited this proposal as an inappropriate expansion of presidential powers.

It’s unclear the extent to which Trump might actually pursue this policy in a second term. The loudest complaint about his first ministry from the Right is that he failed to gut the administrative state, a reality widely acknowledged by the mainstream press. 

Project 2025 provides an interesting glimpse into the direction of the American Right — but tells us precious little about Trump 2.0. If the past is anything to go by, the former president takes pleasure in acting against the commands of conservative think tanks which, despite their populist turn in recent years, he still considers the Washington establishment. 


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
4 months ago

A cursory document search turns up nothing for the World Economic Forum/WEF and little for the World Health Organisation/WHO, suggesting business as usual for the tech-media-pharma complex is what is desired.
This is all I found:
“The COVID-19 pandemic made it painfully clear that both international organizations—and some countries—are only too willing to trample human rights in the name of public health. For example, the WHO was, and remains, willing to support the suppression of basic human rights, partially because of its close relationship with human rights abusers like the PRC. The next Administration should unequivocally embrace the premise that humanity and the international community can simultaneously tackle pandemics and other emergent health threats without impeding the rights of people. It must also become a vocal surrogate for people in countries where rights are being suppressed in the name of health. This will likely require greater restrictions on the supply of federal dollars to the WHO and other health-focused international organizations pending adjustment of their policies. The United States must return to treating international organizations as vehicles for promoting American interests—or take steps to extract itself from those organizations.”
Maybe I’m wrong, but the elites continue to seem disconnected from what many are concerned about.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

The COVID-19 pandemic made it painfully clear that both international organizations—and some countries—are only too willing to trample human rights in the name of public health
.
What’s wrong with this statement?

Mrs R
Mrs R
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Public health… that old chestnut.“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”― Albert Camus

Thor Albro
Thor Albro
4 months ago

Since Trump famously doesn’t read, this 900 page document would appear to be just so much think-tank masturbation.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
4 months ago

I just bought a can with a label saying Beans. It had 3 beans in it, in all water. Or was it this article I am thinking of?

”Project 2025: a wish list for the American Right” ??? Really?
some on abortion, tiny bit on WHO, mention of Deep State, not enough to mean anything. Maybe Abortion really is the be all and end all to today’s journalists.

So I clicked on the top link for ‘Project 2025′, and all it is is a PDF – I wish they mentioned this beforehand as I really do not care to be downloading weird stuff.

Any way, ”Wish List’? Right wing? I did not see any wish list in the article – would have liked to see one just for fun….

Anyway – quangos, NGOs. Think Tanks…. They are like termites eating at the foundation of Western Civilization on the whole. I think Trump is right on this one, keep away from the whole mess of them.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

You can read the whole Project 2025 on Wikipedia if you’re really interested.

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, that way a Left-Wing activist can reinterpret or “reimagine” it for you!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago

Isn’t the truth that, on policy, Trump is indistinguishable from a Clinton democrat of 1992? It’s the left that went mad, not the right.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

Trump has zero interest in governing and will outsource all policy work to the radicals at the Heritage Society and the kind of religious whackjobs that he appointed the US supreme court. His election would be a catastrophe for the United States and a huge boost for the like of Putin and Xi.
Fortunately he will not win. Abortion is only one of the issues that he is way out of line with American voters on and there just aren’t enough unhinged MAGA types to give him any chance. And for anyone who may be undecided then his lunatic remarks about NATO and at CPAC and no doubt many more to come will condemn him to another landslide defeat.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Let’s hope so for the sake of the whole world.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Well, I guess when the administrative state is decimated that would mean that the House’s far-right clown show will have to come to a stop, because they will be in their offices working on their policies. And no campaign money raising calls! They can do that from home—when they finish their policy making work. Yeah, right.

R Wright
R Wright
4 months ago

Nothing matters besides a mass-replacement of functionaries and officials with thousands of right wingers. Everything else is irrelevant.

Mrs R
Mrs R
4 months ago

I think an article on the UN’s Agenda 2030 and 2050 is long overdue. This Project 2025 is about as threatening to the current hegemony as a lone fly caught up in a swarm of locusts

B Emery
B Emery
4 months ago

Wish list for America:
– Stop the war from escalating with Russia, make a peace deal. I would like to beleive trump can do that. I am unsure about his ability to achieve this. If somebody could explain his plan I’d like to hear it.
– No war with China. That is suicidal. All the evidence says America isn’t too good at war right now. Learn important lessons from Ukraine.
– Protect shipping in the red sea instead and make sure the middle east doesn’t blow up.
– Remember its important that your military industrial complex can cope with war load. I know maths boring for Americans but it is very important.
– Remember that money does not grow on trees. Remove Mrs Debtfire (yellen) and replace with anybody that can do some maths. Even a bit of maths.
– Dial it down a bit. Stop exporting American political movements. Please.