What The 2025 Mandate for Leadership Means for Public Health and Social Justice

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Imagine a future where public health policies are radically reshaped, and inclusivity and equity are no longer priorities. This is the vision outlined in the “2025 Mandate for Leadership,” a policy blueprint sparking fierce debates nationwide.

Authored by the Heritage Foundation, this document proposes sweeping changes across various sectors, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As we delve into this controversial blueprint, we’ll explore its potential impact on public health, social justice, and health equity in the United States.

Key Proposals and Implications

The “2025 Mandate for Leadership” lays out several key proposals aimed at restructuring public health and healthcare policies. These proposals include reducing funding for programs targeting marginalized communities, eliminating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies within healthcare, and focusing on traditional public health measures without considering social determinants of health. These proposals have significant implications for public health in the United States, potentially rolling back efforts to reduce health disparities and promote inclusive care.

Authored to guide the next wave of policy reforms, this document has sparked considerable debate and concern among public health professionals, social justice advocates, policymakers, and the internet-going public. It’s critical to pay attention to this thinking because, as of this writing, the markets are increasingly favoring Trump.


The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank, is leading the development of Project 2025. This initiative is framed as necessary to counter what is described as the radical Left’s attempt to eliminate the family and replace it with the state, ultimately driving the country towards totalitarianism. The president of The Heritage Foundation, Kevin Roberts, established Project 2025 to provide the 2024 Republican presidential nominee with a comprehensive personnel database and an ideological framework. This move was largely in response to civil servants’ resistance to policies during the Trump presidency, including the attempt to institute a Muslim travel ban, efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, and the controversial handling of the George Floyd protests.

Established in 2022, this project aims to recruit tens of thousands of conservative-minded individuals to Washington, D.C., with the goal of replacing existing federal civil servants. These civil servants are often characterized by Republicans as part of the “deep state,” a term used to suggest an entrenched, unaccountable bureaucracy resistant to the elected president’s agenda. The project adopts a maximalist interpretation of the unitary executive theory, which asserts that the president has absolute authority over the executive branch upon inauguration.

In April 2023, the Heritage Foundation published a 920-page document titled “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise.” It was written by hundreds of conservatives, including many former Trump administration officials and received support from over 100 partner organizations.

Project 2025 envisions extensive changes across the entire government, particularly concerning economic and social policy and the role of federal agencies. Some of the most significant proposals include slashing funding for the Department of Justice (DOJ), dismantling the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), reducing environmental and climate change regulations to favor fossil fuel production, eliminating the Departments of Education and Commerce, and ending the independence of agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Social Changes

The project takes a firm stance against several contemporary social issues. It urges the government to explicitly reject abortion as healthcare. It proposes criminalizing pornography, removing protections against discrimination based on sexual or gender identity, and terminating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. 

Project 2025 also advocates for significant changes in law enforcement and immigration policy. It advises the future president to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement purposes and to direct the DOJ to target political adversaries, invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 if necessary. The project recommends the arrest, detention, and deportation of undocumented immigrants on a large scale.

Critics have described Project 2025 as an authoritarian Christian nationalist movement and a blueprint for transforming the United States into an autocracy. Legal experts have raised concerns that it would undermine the rule of law and the separation of powers. Even within some conservative circles, there are disagreements over the project’s centralization of power, its stance on climate change, and its approach to foreign trade. Despite criticism, Project 2025 gains traction among conservative groups and is poised to be a crucial plan for the next Republican administration.

What it Says About Public Health

Project 2025 lays out several key proposals aimed at restructuring public health and healthcare policies. Central to its recommendations is a call to eliminate what it considers excessive regulatory burdens and to redirect resources towards broad-based health initiatives. The document advocates for:

  • A reduction in funding for programs specifically targeting marginalized communities.
  • The elimination of policies that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within healthcare institutions.
  • A focus on traditional public health measures, such as disease prevention and health promotion, without specific consideration for social determinants of health.

One of the document’s most contentious points is its assertion that efforts to promote equity have led to a decline in overall health outcomes. For instance, it highlights the continued drop in U.S. life expectancy, attributing this trend to the inefficacy of current health policies. By framing equity-focused initiatives as forms of “social engineering,” the document suggests that such approaches are divisive and counterproductive.

The proposals outlined have significant implications for public health in the United States. If implemented, these policies could lead to a substantial rollback of efforts aimed at reducing health disparities and promoting inclusive care. By deprioritizing the needs of marginalized communities, the document’s recommendations threaten to widen existing gaps in health outcomes, particularly for populations that have historically faced systemic barriers to care.

Moreover, the document’s call to eliminate DEI policies within healthcare institutions undermines the progress made in creating more culturally competent and responsive health services. Such measures are essential for addressing the unique health needs of diverse populations and for fostering an inclusive healthcare environment.

And that is some bullshit.

A Preview of Upcoming Analyses

The next blogs in this series will delve deeper into specific proposed policy areas like LGBTQ healthcare and emergency preparation and their potential impacts on public health, social justice, and health equity. Stay tuned as we unpack these critical topics, providing in-depth analyses and insights into how the “2025 Mandate for Leadership” could reshape the landscape of public health and healthcare in the United States. Your engagement and feedback are invaluable as we navigate these complex issues together.

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