Editorial: Project 2025 should scare everyone

  • by BAR Editorial Board
  • Wednesday July 10, 2024
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Former President Donald Trump is surely aware of Project 2025's efforts to thwart democracy. Image: Screengrab from CNN
Former President Donald Trump is surely aware of Project 2025's efforts to thwart democracy. Image: Screengrab from CNN

It's been good to finally see mainstream news reports over the last week about Project 2025. That's the 900-page document prepared by the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation and numerous other conservative groups laying out what a second Trump administration should include — and what it shouldn't.

Kevin Roberts, Ph.D., the president of the Heritage Foundation, perhaps unwittingly set off the firestorm during an appearance on Steve Bannon's podcast July 2. He said that the country is in the midst of a "second American Revolution" that will be bloodless "if the left allows it to be."

From there, the floodgates opened as news reports were published about Project 2025. In fact, media accounts were so prevalent that former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, took to his Truth Social site July 5 to deny that he has knowledge about the document.

"I know nothing about Project 2025," Trump wrote. "I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."

Sure, right! Trump doesn't know anything about it but then says he disagrees with some of the things in it. That's a page right out of his playbook of lies.

Of course he knows about it. Many former Trump administration officials have been involved, and, as the Washington Post noted, one can't separate the document from Trump. It may not be from the Trump campaign, but his administration, should he win in November, will use it as a blueprint and quickly try to implement much of it once in power. More to the point, conservatives have been salivating over Project 2025's contents for decades. Abolish the federal Department of Education? That comes up every four years, either in GOP presidential primaries or the general election. The proposal is ridiculous, but like many other issues considered settled by law, the federal agency is now at risk of being overturned by an emboldened right-wing cultural backlash.

To actually read Project 2025 is to be transported in time back to the 1950s, when men worked outside the home, women tended to the home, and the heterosexual family unit was the gold standard. Never mind those pesky gays. Today, stable and flourishing families should be promoted, Project 2025 states, but that doesn't refer to same-sex families. "Unfortunately, family policies and programs under President Biden's [Health and Human Services] are fraught with agenda items focusing on 'LGBTQ+ equity,' subsidizing single-motherhood, disincentivizing work, and penalizing marriage," it states.

Project 2025 is in denial over societal changes that have occurred over the last several decades. The authors are scared of the progress the country has made in civil rights, women's rights, and LGBTQ rights. And the bad news is that all rights will be threatened if Trump wins.

Under the chapter about the Health and Human Services Agency, there's this: "Radical actors inside and outside government are promoting harmful identity politics that replaces biological sex with subjective notions of 'gender identity' and bases a person's worth on his or her race, sex, or other identities. This destructive dogma, under the guise of 'equity,' threatens American's [sic] fundamental liberties as well as the health and well-being of children and adults alike."

Even more radical is this statement in the forward, which Transmissions columnist Gwen Smith discusses in her piece this week: "Pornography, manifested today in the omnipresent propagation of transgender ideology and sexualization of children, for instance, is not a political Gordian knot inextricably binding up disparate claims about free speech, property rights, sexual liberation, and child welfare. It has no claim to First Amendment protection. Its purveyors 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."

The hits keep coming, especially when applied to trans people. Project 2025 would reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Recall that Trump issued the ban back in 2017, only to see President Joe Biden rescind it when he took office in 2021.

The document also advocates restricting the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 2020 Bostock decision. That ruling, written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, found that sex discrimination applies to sexual orientation and transgender status of employees in the workplace.

Project 2025 is deeply concerned about federal regulations, or more accurately, wants to do away with as many of them as possible. (That got a big assist late last month from the Supreme Court, which gutted the ability of federal agencies to adjudicate matters relating to regulatory authority.) That, too, has been a key goal of Republicans for years. "Rescind regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, and sex characteristics," the document states. "The President should direct agencies to rescind regulations interpreting sex discrimination provisions as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, sex characteristics, etc."

Project 2025's anti-LGBTQ language dehumanizes trans people as a proxy for all LGBTQ people. "Look at America under the ruling and cultural elite today: Inflation is ravaging family budgets, drug overdose deaths continue to escalate, and children suffer the toxic normalization of transgenderism with drag queens and pornography invading their school libraries," it states.

Any way you slice it, Project 2025 is bad for America. It does not capture the ideals of today's society and purposefully seeks to demonize and diminish Americans that these conservative groups hold in contempt — like us. Do not think for a moment that Trump isn't aware of the document; he is, and should he win, this country will be staring down his effort to undermine democracy.

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