Manifesto

Forward

Strong leadership, A clear economic plan, A brighter, More Secure Future

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The 2025 Presidential Transition Project paves the way for an effective conservative Administration based on four pillars: a policy agenda, a Presidential Personnel Database, a Presidential Administration Academy, and a playbook for the first 180 days of the next Administration.

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This work, Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise, is a collective effort of hundreds of volunteers who have banded together in the spirit of advancing positive change for America. Our work is by no means the comprehensive compendium of conservative policies, nor is our group the exclusive cadre of conservative thinkers. The ideas expressed in this volume are not necessarily shared by all. What unites us is the drive to make our country better.

We are grateful to the leadership, supporters, and donors of each of the Project 2025 advisory board member organizations and those of The Heritage Foundation, without whom Project 2025 would not be possible.

We want you!

The 2025 Presidential Transition Project is the conservative movement’s unified effort to be ready for the next conservative Administration to govern at 12:00 noon, January 20, 2025. Welcome to the mission. By opening this book, you are now a part of it. Indeed, one set of eyes reading these passages will be those of the 47th President of the United States, and we hope every other reader will join in making the incoming Administration a success.

History teaches that a President’s power to implement an agenda is at its apex during the Administration’s opening days. To execute requires a well-conceived, coordinated, unified plan and a trained and committed cadre of personnel to implement it. In recent election cycles, presidential candidates normally began transition planning in the late spring of election year or even after the party’s nomination was secured. That is too late.

The federal government’s complexity and growth advance at a seemingly logarithmic rate every four years. For conservatives to have a fighting chance to take on the Administrative State and reform our federal government, the work must start now. The entirety of this effort is to support the next conservative President, whoever he or she may be.

In the winter of 1980, the fledging Heritage Foundation handed to President-elect Ronald Reagan the inaugural Mandate for Leadership. This collective work by conservative thought leaders and former government hands—most of whom were not part of Heritage—set out policy prescriptions, agency by agency for the incoming President. The book literally put the conservative movement and Reagan on the same page, and the revolution that followed might never have been, save for this band of committed and volunteer activists. With this volume, we have gone back to the future—and then some

1.1  A nation under siege.

The long march of cultural Marxism through our institutions has come to pass. The federal government is a behemoth, weaponized against American citizens and conservative values, with freedom and liberty under siege as never before. The task at hand to reverse this tide and restore our Republic to its original moorings is too great for any one conservative policy shop to spearhead. It requires the collective action of our movement. With the quickening approach of January 2025, we have one year and one chance to get it right.

Project 2025 is more than 50 (and growing) of the nation’s leading conservative organizations joining forces to prepare and seize the day. The axiom goes “personnel is policy,” and we need a new generation of Americans to answer the call and come to serve. This is functionally an invitation for you the reader—Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, and Ms. Smith—to come to Washington or support those who can. 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.

The project is built on four pillars.

Pillar I—this volume—puts in one place a consensus view of how major
federal agencies must be governed and where disagreement exists brackets
out these differences for the next President to choose a path.

Pillar II— is a personnel database that allows candidates to build their own
professional profiles and our coalition members to review and voice their
recommendations. These recommendations will then be collated and shared
with the President-elect’s team, greatly streamlining the appointment process.

Pillar III— is the Presidential Administration Academy, an online educational system taught by experts from our coalition. For the newcomer,
this will explain how the government functions and how to function in
government. For the experienced, we will host in-person seminars with
advanced training and set the bar for what is expected of senior leadership.

In Pillar IV—the Playbook—we are forming agency teams and drafting transition plans to move out upon the President’s utterance of “so help me God.”

The Conservative Promise

In many ways, the entire point of centralizing political power is to subvert the family. Its purpose is to replace people’s natural loves and loyalties with unnatural ones. You see this in the popular left-wing aphorism, “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” But in real life, most of the things people “do together” have nothing to do with government. These are the mediating institutions that serve as the building blocks of any healthy society. Marriage. Family. Work. Church. School. Volunteering. The name real people give to the things we do together is community, not government. Our lives are full of interwoven, overlapping communities, and our individual and collective happiness depends upon them. But the most important community in each of our lives—and the life of the nation—is the family

Today, the American family is in crisis. Forty percent of all children are born to unmarried mothers, including more than 70 percent of black children. There is no government program that can replace the hole in a child’s soul cut out by the absence of a father. Fatherlessness is one of the principal sources of American poverty, crime, mental illness, teen suicide, substance abuse, rejection of the church, and high school dropouts. So many of the problems government programs are designed to solve—but can’t—are ultimately problems created by the crisis of marriage and the family. The world has never seen a thriving, healthy, free, and prosperous society where most children grow up without their married parents. If current trends continue, we are heading toward social implosion.

In summary, the next President has a moral responsibility to lead the nation in restoring a culture of life in America again

 

Return Self Governance

DISMANTLE THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE AND RETURN SELF-GOVERNANCE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Of course, the surest way to put the federal government back to work for the American people is to reduce its size and scope back to something resembling the original constitutional intent. Conservatives desire a smaller government not for its own sake, but for the sake of human flourishing. But the Washington Establishment doesn’t want a constitutionally limited government because it means they lose power and are held more accountable by the people who put them in power. Like restoring popular sovereignty, the task of reattaching the federal government’s constitutional and democratic tethers calls to mind Ronald Reagan’s observation that “there are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.” In the case of making the federal government smaller, more effective, and accountable, the simple answer is the Constitution itself. The surest proof of this is how strenuously and creatively generations of progressives and many Republican insiders have worked to cut themselves free from the strictures of the 1789 Constitution and subsequent amendments. Consider the federal budget.

Under current law, Congress is required to pass a budget—and 12 issue-specific spending bills comporting with it—every single year. The last time Congress did so was in 1996. Congress no longer meaningfully budgets, authorizes, or categorizes spending. — 7 — 2025 Presidential Transition Project Instead, party leaders negotiate one multi trillion-dollar spending bill—several thousand pages long—and then vote on it before anyone, literally, has had a chance to read it. Debate time is restricted. Amendments are prohibited. And all of this is backed up against a midnight deadline when the previous “omnibus” spending bill will run out and the federal government “shuts down.” This process is not designed to empower 330 million American citizens and their elected representatives, but rather to empower the party elites secretly negotiating without any public scrutiny or oversight. In the end, congressional leaders’ behavior and incentives here are no different from those of global elites insulating policy decisions—over the climate, trade,   public health, you name it—from the sovereignty of national electorates. Public scrutiny and democratic accountability make life harder for policymakers—so they skirt it. It’s not dysfunction; it’s corruption.
Congress passes intentionally vague laws that delegate decision-making over a given issue to a federal agency. That agency’s bureaucrats—not just unelected but seemingly un-fireable—then leap at the chance to fill the vacuum created by Congress’s preening cowardice. The federal government is growing larger and less constitutionally accountable—even to the President—every year.
  •  A combination of elected and unelected bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency quietly strangles domestic energy production through difficult-to-understand rulemaking processes; — 8 — Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise
  • Bureaucrats at the Department of Homeland Security, following the lead of a feckless Administration, order border and immigration enforcement agencies to help migrants criminally enter our country with impunity;
  • Bureaucrats at the Department of Education inject racist, anti-American, ahistorical propaganda into America’s classrooms;
  • Bureaucrats at the Department of Justice force school districts to undermine girls’ sports and parents’ rights to satisfy transgender extremists;
  • Woke bureaucrats at the Pentagon force troops to attend “training” seminars about “white privilege”; and
  • Bureaucrats at the State Department infuse U.S. foreign aid programs with woke extremism about “intersectionality” and abortion.3

The next conservative President must possess the courage to relentlessly put the interests of the everyday American over the desires of the ruling elite. Their outrage cannot be prevented; it must simply be ignored. And it can be. The Left derives its power from the institutions they control. But those institutions are only powerful to the extent that constitutional officers surrender their own legitimate authority to them. A President who refuses to do so and uses his or her office to reimpose constitutional authority over federal policymaking can begin to correct decades of corruption and remove thousands of bureaucrats from the positions of public trust they have so long abused.

Defend Our Nation’s Sovereignty

DEFEND OUR NATION’S SOVEREIGNTY,
BORDERS, AND BOUNTY AGAINST GLOBAL THREATS

The United States belongs to “We the people.” All government authority derives from the consent of the people, and our nation’s success derives from the character of its people. The American people’s right to rule ourselves is the obverse of our duty: We cannot outsource to others our obligation to ensure the conditions that allow our families, local communities, churches and synagogues, and neighborhoods to thrive. The buck stops with each of us, so each of us must have the freedom to pursue the good for ourselves and those entrusted to our care.

The next conservative President should go beyond merely defending America’s energy interests but go on offense, asserting them around the world. America’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas are not an environmental problem; they are the lifeblood of economic growth. American dominance of the global energy market would be a good thing: for the world, and, more importantly, for “we the people.” It’s not just about jobs, even though unleashing domestic energy production would create millions of them. It’s not just about higher wages for workers who didn’t go to college, though they would receive the raises they have missed out on for two generations. Full-spectrum strategic energy dominance would facilitate the reinvigoration of America’s entire industrial and manufacturing sector as we disentangle our economy from China. Globally, it would rebalance power away from dangerous regimes in Russia and the Middle East. It would build powerful alliances with fast-growing nations in Africa and provide us the leverage to counter Chinese ambitions in South America and the Pacific. Locally, it would drive billions of dollars of private investment to the communities that have been hammered by globalization since the 1990s. And it would clarify our intentions to Beijing that the next President can ensure that a large part of America’s reindustrialization is in the production of the equipment we will need to dissuade future foreign meddling with U.S. vital interests

 

SECURE OUR GOD-GIVEN INDIVIDUAL
RIGHT TO ENJOY “THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY.”

The Declaration of Independence famously asserted the belief of America’s Founders that “all men are created equal” and endowed with God-given rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” It’s the last—“the pursuit of Happiness”—that is central to America’s heroic experiment in self-government. When the Founders spoke of “pursuit of Happiness,” what they meant might be understood today as in essence “pursuit of Blessedness.” That is, an individual must be free to live as his Creator ordained—to flourish. Our Constitution grants each of us the liberty to do not what we want, but what we ought. This pursuit of the good life is found primarily in family—marriage, children, Thanksgiving dinners, and the like. Many find happiness through their work. Think of dedicated teachers or health care professionals you know, entrepreneurs or plumbers throwing themselves into their businesses—anyone who sees a job well done as a personal reward. Religious devotion and spirituality are the greatest sources of happiness  around the world. Still others find themselves happiest in their local voluntary communities of friends, their neighbors, their civic or charitable work.

The American Republic was founded on principles prioritizing and maximizing individuals’ rights to live their best life or to enjoy what the Framers called “the Blessings of Liberty.” It’s this radical equality—liberty for all—not just of rights but of authority—that the rich and powerful have hated about democracy in America since 1776. They resent Americans’ audacity in insisting that we don’t need them to tell us how to live. It’s this inalienable right of self-direction—of each person’s opportunity to direct himself or herself, and his or her community, to the good— that the ruling class disdains. With the Declaration and Constitution, our nation’s Founders handed to us the means with which to preserve this right. Abraham Lincoln wrote of the Declaration as an “apple of gold” in a silver frame, the Constitution. So must the next conservative President look to these documents when the elites mount their next assault on liberty

BEST EFFORT

Ultimately, the Left does not believe that all men are created equal—they think they are special. They certainly don’t think all people have an unalienable right to pursue the good life. They think only they themselves have such a right along with a moral responsibility to make decisions for everyone else. They don’t think any citizen, state, business, church, or charity should be allowed any freedom until they first bend the knee.

This agenda, the entire Project 2025 is a plan to unite the conservative movement and the American people against elite rule and woke culture warriors. Our movement has not been united in recent years, and our country has paid the price. In the past decade, though, the breakdown of the family, the rise of China, the Great Awokening, Big Tech’s abuses, and the erosion of constitutional accountability in Washington have rendered these divisions not just inconvenient but politically suicidal. Every hour the Left directs federal policy and elite institutions, our sovereignty, our Constitution, our families, and our freedom are a step closer to disappearing. Conservatives have just two years and one shot to get this right. With enemies at home and abroad, there is no margin for error. Time is running short. If we fail, the fight for the very idea of America may be lost. But we should take this small window of opportunity we have left to act with courage and confidence, not despair. The last time our nation and movement were so near defeat, we rallied together behind a great leader and great ideas, transcended our differences, rescued our nation, and changed the world. It’s time to do it again. Now, as then, we know who we are fighting and what we are fighting for: for our Republic, our freedom, and for each other. The next conservative President  will enter office on January 20, 2025, with a simple choice: greatness or failure. It will be a daunting test, but no more so than every generation of Americans has faced and passed. The Conservative Promise represents the best effort of the conservative movement in 2024—and the next conservative President’s last opportunity to save our republic.