An ultra-right plan for a government coup

The Christian nationalist Heritage Foundation is one of the most influential think tanks in Washington, D.C. They have shaped Republican policies since the 1980s. Now, they are preparing for a MAGA presidency in 2025.

Oct. 17, 2017 — In the first year of his term as U.S. President, Donald Trump speaks to the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club Meeting in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Joshua Roberts / Reuters
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Project 2025 is a blueprint for a broad shake-up of the U.S. government by a victorious Trump or DeSantis administration. Its 900-page Mandate for Leadership glorifies authoritarianism and proposes to concentrate power in a supreme leader by installing thousands of right-wing loyalists in federal jobs.

This plan reads like a hard-right manifesto. It targets so-called “cultural Marxism” by centering religion and the traditional family in every aspect of governance. It would provide legal frameworks to persecute LGBTQ+ folks and criminalize pornography as spreading transgender ideology. It would roll back climate policy in favor of oil and gas production. It proposes to increase military tensions with China and takes aim at immigrants, sex discrimination protections, and civil rights for people of color.

The Mandate frees the president from many restraints by eliminating the independence of regulatory agencies. This is its first, so-called “pillar.” The second is a personnel database to recruit 20,000+ die-hard conservatives to fill government positions. The third is online training to prepare these MAGA fanatics to implement a fourth “pillar,” a playbook to transform government in the first 180 days of a new Republican administration.

Key to this effort is reinstating Schedule F, established in the Trump presidency and canceled by Biden. Schedule F treats unionized federal workers as at-will employees. They would be ineligible to join a union and have few protections from being fired. The Republicans plan to use this tool to sack experienced, apolitical civil servants and replace them with conservative hacks, chosen for their political devotion and obedience to the Supreme Leader, not the law. Where typically an incoming presidential administration would fire 400 federal workers, the Heritage Foundation has identified around 50,000 to be reclassified or dismissed.

The National Federation of Federal Employees is supporting a bill to prevent the reinstatement of this union-busting regulation.

Ultimately Project 2025 aims to do what January 6 couldn’t do by force: overthrow the government using an administrative coup.

A history of under-the-radar subversion

1973–2005: The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973, laid the basis for a steady, rightward shift of politics under Republican presidents. Its 20-volume Mandate for Leadership served as the Reagan administration’s guidebook. In 2005, the group took credit for selling the country on “rewarding individual achievement over collective action.”

2023–2025: A new Mandate for Leadership is launched in 2023 by this imperious think tank. It puts forward a plan to completely dismantle the U.S. government’s alleged “deep state” by giving the new president the power to fire 20,000 federal workers and to replace them with die-hard MAGA adherents.

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