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House Democrats Launch Task Force To Counter Trump’s ‘Dystopian’ Policy Plans

WASHINGTON ― Deporting 11 million people. Banning abortion pills nationwide. Deploying U.S. troops against American citizens.

This is a sampling of Donald Trump’s plans for a second presidential term. They’re not strictly his plans; the far-right Heritage Foundation provided him with a 920-page “Project 2025” blueprint that he intends to follow. It is full of conservative policy proposals put together by more than 400 people and is ultimately aimed at replacing federal civil servants with people who will support Trump’s agenda.

Some of their policies are so extreme ― reintroducing firing squads? ― that it’s hard to believe they’re real. But Trump has been clear about his agenda, and unlike 2016, this time he’d enter the White House with a radical policy road map and a team of advisers eager to fill top administration posts and begin rolling it out on day one.

The twice-impeached former president hasn’t explicitly said he’d abide by Project 2025, but he’s already shown that he will. In his first rally since his May 30 felony conviction for falsifying business records, the Republican presidential hopeful on Sunday lashed out at migrants coming into the United States illegally. His harsh characterizations mirrored those laid out in the policy guidebook.

Horrified by the prospect of any of Trump’s plans becoming reality, House Democrats on Tuesday are launching a new congressional task force to prepare for a scenario in which Trump defeats President Joe Biden and begins dismantling the federal government, purging tens of thousands of federal workers and replacing them with vetted conservatives.

The goal of the Stop Project 2025 Task Force is twofold: to inform the public about how dangerous a second Trump term would be and to do everything possible from a legislative perspective to prepare for the worst.

“We have to mount the resistance in real time,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who came up with the idea for the task force, told HuffPost. “If we’re caught off guard by it, we’re going to be too late. This time they’ve figured it out. They’re going to be coming fast and furious.”

Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) are launching the Stop Project 2025 Task Force to try to warn the public about the risks of a second Trump presidency.Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) are launching the Stop Project 2025 Task Force to try to warn the public about the risks of a second Trump presidency.

Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) are launching the Stop Project 2025 Task Force to try to warn the public about the risks of a second Trump presidency. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Huffman said the task force will co-host a series of public forums with think tanks and scholars leading up to the Nov. 5 election. Each hearing will be led by a different Democratic lawmaker and spotlight specific sections of the Project 2025 policy book, which was assembled by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Most Americans don’t realize what Trump is planning to do if he gets back into the White House, Huffman said, and if they did, they would want nothing to do with it. Trump could get moving with a lot of his plans even before inauguration, he added, given that his team has already vetted and proposed people for key roles.

“For people who think something like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ could never happen here, I think it’s happening in real time,” Huffman warned. “I believe we’re really close to having our democracy replaced by a dystopian, right-wing theocracy.”

A Trump campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other members of the Democratic task force members are Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus; Nanette Barragán (Calif.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Judy Chu (Calif.), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; Mark Pocan (Wis.), chair of the Equality Caucus and Labor Caucus; Diana DeGette (Colo.), co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus; Jamie Raskin (Md.), co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus; and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), chair of the Progressive Caucus.

House Democrats aren’t the only ones in Washington worried that people outside of the Beltway bubble aren’t aware of Trump’s day one agenda.

National Security Action, an advocacy group led by foreign policy experts from the Obama administration, is out with a new issue paper, titled “American Carnage,” that sounds the alarm on Trump’s national security agenda.

Trump’s plans on this front include withdrawing from NATO, starting a war in Mexico, carrying out mass executions, pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement and pardoning violent extremists who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“People should be alarmed,” Michael McFaul, a political science professor at Stanford University and the former ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, told HuffPost.

“Our greatest comparative advantage over adversaries in the world, including Russia and China, is we have allies. That has served us well,” McFaul said. “Trump doesn’t believe in allies. He wants to challenge that. That’s why it’s so disruptive.”

Former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, shown here at a briefing in the Ukrainian president's office on Sept. 8, 2023, in Kyiv, says he's concerned that many countries will start Former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, shown here at a briefing in the Ukrainian president's office on Sept. 8, 2023, in Kyiv, says he's concerned that many countries will start

Former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, shown here at a briefing in the Ukrainian president’s office on Sept. 8, 2023, in Kyiv, says he’s concerned that many countries will start “hedging their bets” on their U.S. ties. Viktor Kovalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

McFaul said he regularly travels overseas, and he gets asked all the time about who is going to win the presidential election in November. He worries that if Trump is reelected, many countries will start “hedging their bets” on whether they can rely on Americans to be their allies and will start leaning on other countries, such as China.

Nov. 5 will be “one of the most important elections since the 1930s for the trajectory of what the United States is going to do in the world,” said the former ambassador. “Trying to go it alone wasn’t a great idea in the 1930s, but trying to do it in the 21st century has radically negative consequences for our country.”

Wendy Sherman, a former U.S. deputy secretary of state and the first woman in this position, said there’s a reason why Biden so often talks about democracy.

“It’s to remind people that, without you even being aware of it, you can lose your freedoms,” she said. “You can lose your democracies.”

Sherman said most people probably aren’t focused on the November election right now. This is why it’s vital, she said, that lawmakers, journalists and others keep spelling out why Trump’s plans are threatening to the nation.

“It’s just critical that there is information, information, information,” Sherman added. “People all of a sudden will say, ‘A-ha, this is serious. This is what’s really at stake here.’”

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