With the Biden administration half over and with the immediate dangers inherent to one-party rule in Washington behind us for now, it’s past time to lay the groundwork for a White House more friendly to the right. For decades, as the left has continued its march through America’s institutions, conservatives have been outgunned and outmatched when it comes to the art of government.
One reason is because the Republican establishment never moved on from the 1980s. Beltway conservatives still prioritize supply-side economics and a bellicose foreign policy above all else. Belief in small government, strangely enough, has manifested itself in a belief among some conservatives that we should lead by example and not fill all political appointments. Belief in the primacy of the national security state has caused conservative administrations to defer political decisions to the generals and the intelligence community.
The result has been decades of disappointment.
Fortunately, this situation is changing. The conservative movement increasingly knows what time it is in America. More and more of our politicians are willing to use the government to achieve our vision, because the neutrality of “keeping the government out of it” will lose every time to the left’s vast power. The calls for a “new Church Committee” represent a momentous shift in energy; while conservatives used to lament liberal Sen. Frank Church’s original project as a kooky leftist attack against “The Brave Men And Women of Our Intelligence Community,” we’re now the ones agitating for Congress to go after the three-letter agencies.
This new vigor of the right can be found at Project 2025. Organized by the Heritage Foundation, Project 2025 has brought together 45 (and counting) right-of-center organizations that are ready to get into the business of restoring this country through the combination of the right policies and well-trained people. The Project’s foundation is built on four interconnected pillars.
The first pillar, the upcoming production of the policy book Mandate for Leadership, represents the work of more than 350 leading conservatives and outlines a vision of conservative success at each federal agency during the next administration. Presidential candidates won’t be able to ignore what the conservative movement demands in this book.
The second is our online personnel database. This “Conservative LinkedIn” will launch in March and will provide an opportunity for rock-solid conservatives to place themselves in contention for roles in the next administration. This pillar will bring Mr. (and Mrs.) Smith to Washington.
The third is our Presidential Administration Academy. When conservatives do finally make it into an administration, they often don’t know what to do or how to seize the gears of power effectively. Through their action, inaction, and their encyclopedic knowledge of volumes of technicalities about the federal workforce, certain career federal employees are masterful in tripping us up. Our interactive, on-demand training sessions will change that. They will turn future conservative political appointees into experts in governmental effectiveness.
The fourth and final pillar of Project 2025 is our Playbook, which will take the policy ideas expressed in Mandate for Leadership and transform them into an implementation plan for each agency to advocate to the incoming administration. What regulations and executive orders must be signed on Day One? Where are the greatest needs for more political appointees? How can we effectively use the mechanisms of government to face our most challenging problems? Our Playbook will put our movement to work answering questions like these.
In November 2016, American conservatives stood on the verge of greatness. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency was a triumph that offered the best chance to reverse the left’s incessant march of progress for its own sake. Many of the best accomplishments, though, happened only in the last year of the Trump administration, after our political appointees had finally figured out the policies and process of different agencies, and after the right personnel were finally in place.
The usual suspects in the permanent political class will be ready for the next conservative administration. Will we be ready for them? That’s where Project 2025 comes in. We have two years, and one chance, to get this right.
This piece originally appeared in The American Conservative