Dem 51
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Trump v2.0

Donald Trump wasn't a very effective president because he had no idea how the government worked. For his first two years, the Republicans had the trifecta, but they blew it because they were waiting for Trump to send his program to Congress and he was too busy bloviating to actually create a program and send it to Congress. He now understands that and if he gets a second chance, it will be completely different. He wants to remake the entire country and roll back 100 years of progress. He wants to make America Great Again—say, as it was during the administration of William McKinley. The Heritage Foundation is working on Project 2025, essentially detailed plans that Trump can send to Congress on Jan. 20, 2025, if he wins. Also included are plans for actions beyond that date.

For one thing, the Heritage Foundation believes in the theory of a unitary executive. By this they mean that the president is in charge of the entire Executive Branch and can give orders to not only all the executive departments (State, Defense, Treasury, etc.) but also to the independent agencies, including the CDC, FBI, FCC, FDA, FEC, FED, FTC, GSA, NASA, NLRB, NSF, NTSB, SBA, SEC, SSA, USPS and dozens more. In this theory, the president can order the FBI to investigate anyone he wants investigated, he can order the FCC to abolish net neutrality, he can order the CDC to stop telling people to get vaccinated, he can order the FED to set the interest rate he wants, and much more. Failure to obey him would result in instant dismissal and replacement by someone who will say: "Yes, sir!" and carry out the order.

The second major item on the agenda is Schedule F. In his first term, often Trump gave an order to the federal bureaucracy and some high-level civil servant determined that it was illegal and refused to carry it out. Trump wants to solve this problem by putting about 50,000 civil servants on Schedule F, which means they serve at the pleasure of the president and can be fired at will. In essence, he wants to de facto repeal the 1883 Pendleton Act, which created the merit-based civil service and to go back to the old spoils system introduced by his favorite president (other than himself), Andrew Jackson. By making everyone half a dozen levels down from the top a presidential appointee, only clerks, secretaries, cafeteria workers, and janitors will be protected from being fired for political reasons (or because they insist on following the law). Congress could head this off at the pass now by passing a law making it impossible to fire any civil servant unless they have been formally convicted of a felony, but if Republicans in Congress voted for such a law, Trump would bellow loudly and they would all scurry like mice when the cat showed up.

No matter what the Heritage Foundation wants, Congress will still be around and it will still have the power of the purse. So the plan here is to allow the president to veto individual items in the budget. This is not allowed (although a few states have a line-item veto), but the idea is for Trump just to do it anyway and have a compliant Supreme Court approve it.

Another item is defunding the Department of Justice. Trump has had bad experiences with it, including a couple of indictments. Maybe greatly reducing its size and scope would make him feel better. The environmental, civil rights, and tax fraud divisions will be the first to go, followed by others.

To carry out such ambitious plans, the Heritage Foundation is building a database of vetted conservatives for each position in government. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are being trained on conservative principles. That way if Trump is inaugurated, he can get lists of dozens of top people to appoint to each department and agency immediately. If Republicans win the Senate, they will all be rammed through in a few weeks at most. One of the key aspects of the modern Republican Party is that it hates expertise. That's why Anthony Fauci was so despised by Republicans. He knew more than Joe in the diner did and they resented that very much. Consequently, people who get into the Heritage Foundation database need not have any qualifications for the field they want to be in. Mere loyalty to the Communist Party—no, sorry, wait, that's China—mere loyalty to Donald Trump is enough.

The leading conservative warrior here is a lawyer named Paul Dans. His hatred of expertise is obvious, even though he went to M.I.T. before getting his law degree. He said, "I would trust a mom coming back into the workforce who had just successfully raised four kids to be able to manage an agency." This remark harks back to William F. Buckley Jr.'s comment: "I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University." Hatred of expertise runs deep in the Republican Party. They see people who have it as "elites" and those "elites" are the enemy of "the people."

The consequence of this is that the government would be in chaos all the time. Decisions would be made without thinking about the consequences but sooner or later those consequences would become clear, by which time it might be impossible to fix the problem. For example, banning all imports from China would please the base to no end. That is, until all the American car companies shut down all their factories and laid off all their workers because a modern car has between 1,000 and 3,000 chips in it, nearly all of them made in China with no American factory able to make them. Building such a factory and getting it going could take 3 years or more, so no new American cars for 3 years. Imagine what would happen to the price of used cars while no new ones were being made. And when new cars finally started coming off the line again, they would be more expensive due to the higher cost of all those chips. Ooooops.

One problem with making the president a virtual dictator is that conservatives would not be happy with what a President Gavin Newsom might do with all this power starting on Jan. 20, 2029, so they have to make sure no Democrat is ever elected president again. That means a national voter ID law, a national ban on absentee and early voting, and as many other voter suppression laws as they can think of.

The above stuff is what Dans and the Heritage Foundation are working on. Trump himself has also laid out some of his own plans:

  1. Use the military for the largest deportation operation of undocumented immigrants in American history.
  2. Order the National Guard into cities with high crimes, likely against the strong objections of local officials.
  3. Prosecute people who help minors get gender-affirming care.
  4. Impose a 10% tariff on all imports.
  5. Appoint special prosecutors to go after his political opponents, starting with Joe Biden.
  6. Purge the civil service of anyone who opposes his views.

Sounds like full-bore fascism. Benito Mussolini is smiling in his grave. Some of our thoughts:

  1. This gets pretty close to a police state. If you are brown and don't have a U.S. passport handy, you get deported?
  2. Are we talking about martial law here, with elected officials being replaced by the semi-military?
  3. Would doctors, nurses, psychologists, and parents be prosecuted?
  4. A 10% tariff on all imports will cause high inflation, which won't be popular.
  5. Vladimir Putin must be proud of his student but will he give Trump his secret recipe for polonium-flavored tea?
  6. Now Trump is aiming at being a full-fledged dictator.

Of course, many of these things are illegal, but suppose Trump just does them anyway. When even John Roberts says: "Enough already" what happens when Trump then asks: "How many divisions does the Supreme Court command?" In his first term, Trump surrounded himself with people who respected the law, like John Kelly and Jim Mattis, and who tried to fend off his worst impulses. He won't make that mistake again. AG Jim Jordan, DHS Secretary Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Defense Secretary Matt Gaetz will certainly support him. We've used this before, but no one's expressed the idea better than Maya Angelou: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." Democrats who are whining that Joe Biden is too old might want to take a look at Trump's platform. (V)

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