The far-right has a plan to remake America. They even wrote it down in a 920-page manifesto called Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, laying out its agenda for Trump or any other Republican who should win the White House. The book consists chiefly of the world’s longest enemies list, with detailed instructions on how to target them, oust them, and reverse their policies, both real and imagined.
It’s not like we haven’t been warned.
Should the Republican presidential nominee (likely Donald Trump) win the election next year, conservatives have been pretty clear about what they intend to do. In fact, explicitly clear.
Trump himself isn’t much on policy, of course. The 2020 Republican National Convention was notable chiefly because, at his behest, it made no effort to pass a party platform, effectively giving Trump carte blanche for whatever he wished to do in his second term.
Trump is assembling a cadre of lawyers who supported his attempt to cling to the presidency, and who won’t be deterred from doing his bidding—as those wusses from the Federalist Society were—by the niceties of constitutional law. A leading figure among these l’état c’est Trump legal eagles is Jeffrey Clark, a Trump Justice Department official who during the plot to overturn the 2020 election countered a White House counsel’s argument that Trump’s putsch would lead to “riots in every major city” by noting, “That’s why there’s an Insurrection Act”—a law that allows the president to deploy the Army to quell protests. That exchange is quoted in the federal indictment of Trump for fomenting the January 6th insurrection. (The Post indicates that Trump is plotting to invoke the Insurrection Act on the first day of his presidency: January 20, 2025.)
But Trump’s all-too-personal vision for a second-term agenda is now leaking into the press. According to stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post, it begins with transforming the Justice Department into an instrument of his vengeance, initially against those first-term appointees Trump thinks betrayed him: former Attorney General Bill Barr, former chief of staff John Kelly, former Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley, and others who opposed his attempted seizure of power. Then comes filing charges against Joe Biden and his family, with the substance yet to be determined.
At a recent campaign event in New Hampshire, Trump stumbled into a rationale for going after Biden, should he win the 2024 contest. “This is third-world country stuff, ‘arrest your opponent,’” Trump said. “And that means I can do that, too.”
If nothing else, that quote explains why Trump is seeking more lawyers like Jeffrey Clark.
But Clark’s current ambit isn’t confined to Mar-a-Lago. He’s also part of Project 2025, an initiative of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, which, in collaboration with over 80 other far-right groups (including the Center for Renewing America, where Clark is a senior fellow and director of litigation), is laying out the tasks and recruiting the candidates that the next Republican president must employ to de-woke-ify America, banish liberalism, and extirpate modernity.
When the Post reported that Clark is leading a study on how to implement the Insurrection Act, a Heritage Foundation official quickly sought to assure the wider world that “there are no plans within Project 2025 related to the Insurrection Act or targeting political enemies.”