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Vote — before Project 2025 destroys our democracy

André Stark

Associate Publisher, Bay State Banner

...
Vote — before Project 2025 destroys our democracy
“Don’t sleep on Project 2025.”

Today we are a little under five months before the 2024 presidential election, and the country is once again on edge. President Biden had an underwhelming performance on the debate stage, while the former president used his time to spew invective for 90 minutes coupled with lie after lie about the economy, foreign policy and his failed presidency. What was left out was his plan to completely overhaul the U.S. government, and with it, life as we know it in this democracy.

Project 2025, the blueprint for a Trump presidency outlined by the conservative Heritage Foundation, is an aggressive right-wing takeover of the federal bureaucracy, giving sweeping powers to the president and outlining radical changes that will happen in the former president’s first 100 days in office. The 900-plus-page document is keen on dismantling a variety of American institutions ridiculed as part of the “deep state.” Changes include eliminating of the Department of Education, redeveloping the Department of Justice by giving more power to the president to shape it, and promoting and building up the fossil-fuel industry while cutting efforts to prevent climate change, like ending subsidies for electric vehicles.

In addition, the plan calls for drastically cutting the civil service workforce, eliminating as many as 50,000 civil service jobs. This is specifically damaging to Black people. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel  Management (OPM), Black workers represent 13% of the total population but make up 18.2% of federal personnel.

These initiatives should scare everyone in the country to their core. Our way of life is being challenged by a rogue group of zealots who crave power and will not follow the will of the people.

This extremist project is being created early. In 2016, the Trump administration was ill-prepared to fill open positions, due to inexperience at the federal level. With Project 2025, this MAGA group started their march early by setting the table in the judiciary. Appeals court judges, the final arbiters of most legal appeals in the U.S., that were appointed from 2016-2019 are a result of Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s influence. That administration appointed 54 federal appellate judges in four years, to the 55 judges President Obama appointed over eight years in office. We can clearly see this enterprise taking shape by fiat through the U.S. Supreme Court, whose recent decisions on abortion, affirmative action and presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for “official” acts all put our democratic republic in jeopardy. Three of the seated Supreme Court justices were appointed in that time frame and are creating a superstructure for Project 2025.

Trump is disavowing his knowledge of Project 2025, even though many of his cronies are involved with writing the plan. His “Sgt. Schultz” social media claim, “I know nothing about Project 2025, I have no idea who is behind it,” rings as hollow as an empty Big Mac box.

We can see the rise of other right-wing-type governments across the globe, with ruling parties in Italy and Finland in addition to Marine Le Pen’s renamed National Rally party gaining seats in the recent French election. However, they failed to take over the government, and Britain’s Labour Party prevailed in the UK, ending 14 years of Tory rule.

In the U.S., Biden’s policies have benefitted the country in many ways and are a far cry from the ravages of 2020, when roughly 1 million people died during the COVID outbreak and people were rationing toilet paper. According to the Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal news outlet, economists were lifting their 2024 growth forecasts in the latest WSJ survey.

Axios pointed out that the U.S. economy grew faster than any other large advanced economy last year — by a wide margin — and is on track to do so again in 2024. The unemployment rate was below 4% for 27 months during Biden’s tenure, the best since the 1960s, according to MSNBC. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes provisions for broadband access, clean water and improved electric grid development.

Apparently, the conservatives believe the U.S. population has a short memory of the devastation caused by the previous administration, and that raising the age for social security benefits to 70 and making the Trump tax cuts permanent (and raising the deficit, again) are a boon to the economy, when the facts tell a different story. A continuance of disastrous Trump administration policies, now on steroids, will suffocate and devastate a burgeoning economy.

Socially, Project 2025 guts diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, not only in the workplace but also in schools, reversing hard-fought gains. The plan is to “eliminate every one of these wrongful and burdensome ideological projects.” Proposed changes to the Civil Rights Act will prohibit the collection of race, color, religion, sex and national origin discrimination data. This means a devastating loss to BIPOC and LGBTQ communities.

Project 2025 will create a dystopian country of haves and never-haves, leading to chaos that will enable those in power to steal and to create an authoritarian regime that may never yield to the power of the people. It must be stopped now. The way to do that is through the ballot box — before your vote may never count again.

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