Project 2025 promises to shut down Dept. of Education, ban abortion, roll back civil rights and more

From shutting down the Department of Education to reversing FDA-approval abortion pills, learn more about the far-right conservative presidential transition plan intended to help a candidate like Donald Trump transform America if he wins Election 2024.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump greets supporters during a "Save America" rally at Alaska Airlines Center on July 9, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If you’re an American planning to vote in this year’s election, Project 2025 is a must-read document.

The so-called “playbook” is a presidential transition plan that lays out what should happen in the first 180 days of a conservative presidency in nearly 1,000 pages of detail.  

It’s more than a fantasy wish list or set of media talking points — the project is backed by the influential Heritage Foundation, along with more than 100 conservative organizations, partners, and scholars, and is led by former Trump administration officials, despite the Trump campaign operating independently of the organization.  

The Project 2025 group is very clear that they have policies meant to change America as we know it, and loyal staff who they intend to train and hire to implement the changes. They’ve even founded a “Presidential Administration Academy” to prepare people to step into jobs right away.

So what are the changes, and how far do they go? Here are a few that jump off the page:

Shutting down the Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education not only distributes financial aid to students but also ensures that schools are living up to civil rights measures. Project 2025 seeks to redirect education funding to states and undercut higher education, which it claims has been “captured by woke ‘diversicrats.’”

Despite the Department of Education’s roots in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the founders of Project 2025 call for “safeguarding civil rights” by “rejecting gender ideology and critical race theory.” Meanwhile, critical race theory is a legal framework, founded by African-American scholar Derrick Bell, that isn’t taught in K-12 public schools. Nevertheless, Republican strategists have found it a useful tool to fund culture war anxieties about “anti-whiteness.” 

Banning shipping of abortion pills, reverse FDA approval of medication abortion

Project 2025 reasons that now that the U.S. Supreme Court “acknowledged that the Constitution contains no right to an abortion,” the FDA has an obligation to reverse its approval of abortion pills.

The project also wants the FDA to stop the approval of the shipping of abortion pills, calling it a “violation of long-standing federal laws.” Project 2025 claims medication abortion “poses the single greatest threat to unborn children in a post-Roe world.” It asks the U.S. Department of Justice to criminalize abortion pill providers and “distributors,” meaning that everyday people who ship abortion pills can go to jail.

Project 2025’s core team does not include any women, as seen in their team photo below.

Photo via Project2025.org.

Making the DOJ’s civil rights division go after DEI leaders

Project 2025 has its own definition of discrimination — and it sounds similar to the “reverse-racism” ideologies touted by opponents of racial justice efforts.

“The Biden Administration — through the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and other federal entities — has enshrined affirmative discrimination in all aspects of its operations under the guise of ‘equity,’” writes the Project 2025 team. They call “equity” efforts “vehicles for this unlawful discrimination.” The definition of “equity” is fairness and justice, which takes into account differing circumstances. This is the exact approach Project 2025 wants to eliminate:

“The Civil Rights Division should spend its first year under the next Administration using the full force of federal prosecutorial resources to investigate and prosecute all state and local governments, institutions of higher education, corporations, and any other private employers who are engaged in discrimination in violation of constitutional and legal requirements,” they write.

This means that if Project 2025 has its way, schools, businesses, and even local cities and states with equity agendas should be on the lookout for further attacks.

Ending criminal justice reform efforts

Project 2025’s founders are clear that they see criminal justice reform as a waste of time, despite efforts to right the wrongs of mass incarceration, which disproportionately targeted Black communities.  

“In recent years, federal and state officials have succumbed to calls from anti-law enforcement advocates for so-called criminal justice reform,” they write, calling it “ill-advised” and tying it to violent crimes without evidence.  

They blame reform, which has freed prisoners who were falsely accused of crimes and, in some cases, given harsher sentences, for “dismantling effective federal, state, and local law enforcement.”

Pushing out the media and defunding PBS

If you grew up watching PBS for no-fuss news and maybe catching an episode or two of “Sesame Street,” prepare for a world where this channel is the enemy. Project 2025 claims that PBS and other government-funded media like NPR are biased against conservatives, pointing to polling that says the majority of the audience is “liberal.” Project 2025 would like the president to use his budget authority to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of having taxpayer support.

Project 2025’s authors call it “half a billion dollars squandered on leftist opinion each year,” despite shows like “Antiques Roadshow” and “Mister Rogers” being long-time staples. The criticism isn’t new, and some conservatives have had the channel in their crosshairs for decades to cut funding; however, this time around, their plans might be a priority of an anti-media president like Trump.

More power for the (right) president

Project 2025 is comprehensive in its vision and includes numerous other plans of action for areas, including the Environment Protection Agency, HUD (Housing and Urban Development), and most importantly, the Executive Office of the President.

In a Project 2025 world, America’s president will have more power than ever, with more power to shut down critics, eliminate non-political public servants, and install party-loyal staff.

Numerous political officials and thought leaders have expressed alarm about Project 2025, including Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, who said, “Project 2025 is giving the playbook for authoritarianism, as well as the next dictator, to come in.” Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., called it a “1,000-page bucket list of extremist policies.”

While plenty of conspiracy theories and rumors swirl around Election Day 2024, with Project 2025, its organizers not only tell you clearly what they want to do but exactly how – and who – they plan to do it with. Read the full plan for yourself at Project2025.org

Natasha S. Alford is VP of Digital Content and a Senior Correspondent at theGrio. An award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and TV personality, Alford is the author of the book “American Negra: A Memoir” (Harper Collins). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @natashasalford.

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