Project 2025 is, as Wikipedia describes it,

a collection of conservative policy proposals from The Heritage Foundation to reshape the United States federal government in the event of a Republican Party victory in the 2024 presidential election".

On its own website, it says

Our goal is to assemble an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State.

For several months I have seen many Democratic politicians and activists, media outlets that lean to the left and others describe it as a threat to U.S. democracy. For example, according to this BBC article the U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) said:

Project 2025 is more than an idea, it's a dystopian plot that’s already in motion to dismantle our democratic institutions, abolish checks and balances, chip away at church-state separation, and impose a far-right agenda that infringes on basic liberties and violates public will.

According to that same article, the Heritage foundation called this scaremongering.

Apparently, in the Biden-Trump debate that will happen tonight (as of me writing this question, Thursday 27th June 2024) it is expected that Biden will use the opportunity to mention Project 2025.

What is actually going on here? If Trump is elected in 2024, is U.S. democracy at risk due to this plan?


1 Answer 1


Whether or not Project 2025 is a threat to US democracy depends on what you consider democracy to be.

If you believe in a living system where the Constitution and laws should be interpreted in a modern context (for whatever is 'modern' at the time) and informed by changes in scientific knowledge and societal norms, then it's a huge threat. If you believe in a strict adherence to the letter of the Constitution and law, regardless of the repercussions on 'modern' society, then it's simply restoring things to how they should be.

To provide a couple examples (mostly sourced from the links provided in the question):

  • The first amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...".
    In a living interpretation, this means that any law which favors one religion over another is unconstitutional. In a strict reading, a law saying "Everyone must convert to <religion>" would be unconstitutional, but one which pulls from that religion's values and imposes them on everyone (follower or not) is fine.
  • If you believe that modern scientific knowledge has become complex enough that no one can understand it all and laws/regulations should be imposed by a team of experts in the relevant field, then government agencies should be run by career civil servants who have deep knowledge of their sphere and have the power to effectively write the laws for it (subject to Congress's explicit instruction otherwise) and enforce the arcane details. If you believe that "[all] executive Power shall be vested in [the] President" and that "all legislative Powers ... shall be vested in a Congress", then there's no place for a bureaucracy to regulate anything not explicitly authorized by Congress.
  • Constitutional amendments provide that "The right of citizens ... to vote shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of race, [or] color..." or sex or age.
    If you believe in strictly adhering to these limits as specified, then any restrictions not based on those factors are fine. For instance, preventing citizens from voting due to lack of the correct paperwork or lack of access to the polling location is fine. If you believe in living interpretation, then laws that aren't specifically targeted at one of those factors are still prohibited if they have a disproportionate impact on people in one of those groups.
  • The 14th amendment says that _"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".
    This can be read to mean that any law which promotes one group over another is prohibited, or it can be read to mean that there must be laws to make everyone equal. The first reading prohibits things such as affirmative action, because it favors minorities over the majority. The second reading requires affirmative action, to ensure that the minority is treated equally with the majority.

More fundamentally, Article II says that "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army", and the Insurrection Act allows the President to use the Army and National Guard to ensure that federal laws are enforced. Since it is physically impossible to enforce every law 100% of the time, it's then on the President to decide which laws are (in his/her interpretation) being broken to the extent that they need to be enforced by soldiers. In practical terms, that could mean anything from heavily armed guards at polling places checking every voters' ID to mass arrests and detentions is even suspected of being a terrorist, illegal immigrant, and/or protestor, or even outright opening fire on them. But since it's all done with the goal of making sure the laws are actually being upheld, then it's perfectly legal.


Project 2025 believes in adhering to the letter of the law, even if that violates the (presumed) spirit; that equality means no one is given any special treatment; and that using soldiers to enforce the President's interpretation of the laws is valid.
Opponents to it believe in adhering to the spirit of a law as seen through a modern lens, even if that goes way beyond the letter; that equality means bringing everyone up to the same level, even if that means assisting some more than others; and that the army should only be used against Americans in the most egregious of circumstances, leaving everything else to regular law enforcement agencies.

  • NB: I tried to make this as neutral as I could, although I'm sure my opinion still comes across. Many of Project 2025's concerns are ones I can agree with, but I'm not on board with their solutions. I'm open to suggestions on rewording things although I may or may not take them.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jun 27 at 12:24
  • 10
    You seem to be missing one of the key points of the 2025 project which is classifying much of the federal work force as political appointees so that they can be fired for things that the President/Party doesn't like. This would have a chilling effect on many areas of the government where things are not decided/done based on the politics of the party that is in power. pbs.org/newshour/politics/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Jun 27 at 12:38
  • @JoeW - I started including that, but then it kindof morphed into the second bullet point. Having agencies fully staffed by appointees is really only a difference by degree from what there is now, where most of the high level positions that set policy are political. It'd just be bringing that to more of the org chart. The real alternative is a system more like the UK has, where the bureaucracy is mostly insulated from who is in power (at least as I understand it).
    – Bobson
    Commented Jun 27 at 12:53
  • 1
    @Bobson In practice there is a huge difference between only having the big boss being party affiliated and every low level employee being under political control. In the first case the big boss can try to provide a general direction but employees just do their thing and tell the big boss if his ideas are wonky (and ignore them afterwards). If everyone is under party control, the big boss can just push through his ideas, no matter how wonky they are.
    – quarague
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:25
  • 10
    You seem to be missing the biggest danger that occurs by making federal employees political appointees which is that decisions and actions that should be based on science/facts can/will now be made based on the political/personal beliefs of the current administration. A very simple example of this is when Trump refused to admit he was wrong about the path of a hurricane and even went as far as to show an altered map that had the path he said and not what the weather forecast said. npr.org/2019/09/04/757586936/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:32

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .