Read Project 2025 to see how radically Donald Trump wants to change America

According to a May 15 NBC News report, there are a multitude of issues that voters must discern about Joe Biden, Donald Trump and the independent presidential candidates before voting on Nov. 5. Logically, the importance of each issue differs between and among America’s 161.4 million registered voters.

One issue missing from the NBC News report that has become a focal point of the Biden camp, Make America Great Again Republicans and third-party candidates is democracy vs. authoritarianism. Specifically, on Jan. 20, 2025, will the duly elected and inaugurated president of the United States keep America as a democracy that dates back to the 1630’s in the New England colonies, or will it be the start of changing the country to authoritarian fascism?

If you’ve not heard of Project 2025, it’s very worthy of your independent investigation. Project 2025 is a playbook specifically created for Donald Trump and his supporters to use in the first 180 days of Trump’s 2025-29 presidential administration. The far-right extremism-based Heritage Foundation proudly takes claim for facilitating the creation of the 887-page turning-democracy-into-an-authoritarian-country document.

Project 2025’s two editors had assistance from 34 authors, 277 contributors, a 54-member advisory board and a coalition of over 100 conservative organizations (including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heartland Institute, Liberty University, Middle East Forum, Moms for Liberty, the National Rifle Association, Pro-Life America and Tea Party Patriots).

Project 2025 is a serious endeavor, if Trump returns to the White House, to make America a fascist country. After all, on May 20, Trump posted a video on his Truth Social media account depicting his 2025-29 administration as a “Unified Reich.” (Hitler’s Third Reich occurred from 1933 to 1945.)

Download the Project 2025 document (it's linked from this essay) so you can check out the disconcerting manuscript that tells Trump what specifically to do from Jan. 20 to July 18, 2025, to convert America into an authoritarian regime.

The 30 chapters of Project 2025 are a daunting read. Project 2025 proposes, among a host of things, eliminating the Department of Education, eliminating the Department of Commerce, deploying the US military whenever protests erupt, dismantling the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, removing sexual and gender protected discrimination and terminating diversity, equity, inclusion and affirmative action.

Additional mandates include: siphoning off billions of dollars of public school funding, funding private school choice vouchers, phasing out public education’s Title I program, gutting the nation’s free school meals program, eliminating the Head Start program, banning books and suppressing any curriculum that discusses the evils of slavery.

Project 2025 also calls for banning abortion (which makes women second-class citizens), restricting access to contraception, forcing would-be immigrants to be detained in concentration camps, eliminating Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, recruiting 54,000 loyal MAGA Republicans to replace existing federal civil servants, and ending America’s bedrock principle that separates church from state.

A news story in Politico described Project 2025 as an authoritarian Christian nationalist movement and a path for the US to become an autocracy. Several legal experts have indicated implementing the 180-day manual would undermine the rule of law and the separation of powers.

As noted earlier, Project 2025 is worthy of your independent investigation. So that you’ll be in-the-know as to what authoritarianism looks like, seriously consider reading one research-based book per month for the next five months as pre-election homework. Here’s my suggested reading assignment:

June: "On Tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century," Timothy Snyder, 2017.

July: "Twilight of Democracy: The seductive lure of authoritarianism," Anne Applebaum, 2020. Chapters IV, V and VI get to the bottom line.

August: "Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America," Heather Cox Richardson, 2023.

September: "Attack from Within: How Disinformation is Sabotaging America," Barbara McQuade, 2024. The 1,717 reference citations proves this is well researched and an honest read.

October: "1984," George Orwell, 1949. Orwell’s novel shows Americans what life would be like under totalitarian and oppressive rule.

Reading even just one of these books will enable you to discern political candidate and party-based disinformation, misinformation and propaganda from truth, ready to vote on Nov. 5 and keep America a democracy.

Steve Corbin is a professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa. He receives no remuneration, funding or endorsement from any for-profit business, not-for-profit organization, political action committee or political party.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Read Project 2025. Donald Trump wants to radically change America.