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Andrea Austria / Media Matters

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Project 2025 partners are attempting to woo Black voters with misinformation on GOP policies

Project 2025 partners are trying to woo Black voters to the Republican Party, and some have used misinformation to argue that they’ll be better served by GOP policies than Democratic approaches, such as school choice and voter ID laws. 

Yet these organizations often support policies that would harm Black communities and some have promoted racist stereotypes about Black families or attacked Black organizations. They’ve also promoted vaguely marriage-oriented initiatives to push two-parent households, arguing that marriage and family formation are the solution to the issues that Black Americans experience, such as higher poverty rates and racial profiling.

Project 2025 is a comprehensive transition plan to guide a potential second Trump administration with policy proposals and staffing recommendations. The effort’s guide book, Mandate for Leadership, includes a variety of proposals that would likely cause harm to Black communities, such as eliminating student debt relief efforts, instating work requirements for Medicaid, eliminating access to abortion, and nixing DEI programs and prosecuting those who continue them.

Mandate also blames “fatherlessness” — saying “forty percent of all children are born to unmarried mothers, including more than 70 percent of black children” — for an increase in “poverty, crime, mental illness, teen suicide, substance abuse, rejection of the church, and high school dropouts.”

Two Project 2025 partners have launched specific efforts to appeal to Black voters: Turning Point USA’s Blexit and the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Project 21. Both of these groups are headed by Black conservatives and promote right-wing ideology.

Project 21 has argued in favor of stricter voter ID laws and against the Biden administration's efforts to expand voting rights, while Blexit attempts to woo Black voters with anti-immigrant propaganda and a baseless accusation that Democrats think poorly of Black Americans and have no intention of helping them.

Below is a list of these organizations and examples of their efforts to target Black voters, their positions on topics that harm Black communities, and their negative commentary about Black communities.

  • The Heritage Foundation

    • Heritage Foundation fellow Hans von Spakovsky argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee against legislation protecting voting rights from discriminatory policies, claiming that Black voters are voting at record numbers and that minority voters are satisfied with the current voting laws. Spakovsky testified that the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is an “unjustified and unneeded amendment whose broad expansion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 … would call into question the constitutionality of the law.” He added that minority voters are “registering and turning out to vote in record numbers” and discriminatory restrictions have “long disappeared.” He also said minority voters are satisfied with the voting laws, referring to a poll in which minority voters said their voting experiences were “‘excellent’ or ‘good.’” Yet minority voters actually had lower turnout in 2022 than in 2018, there are still large discrepancies between white and minority voter turnout, and voter ID laws have been shown to disproportionately impact minority voters and increase racial disparities in voter turnout. [The Heritage Foundation, 3/12/24; Brookings, 5/18/23; Brennan Center, 3/2/24, 1/10/22
    • In a piece for Heritage, Spakovsky called out “the myth of voter suppression,” claiming a study shows voter turnout increased after voter ID laws were implemented. He wrote  that “liberals have peddled fabricated claims about voter ID requirements, asserting that they give an advantage to the Republican Party by ‘discriminating against African Americans’ and suppressing their vote.” And he cited a study finding that voter turnout increased after voter ID laws were implemented, concluding that the measure “strengthens diverse voter representation in our country by including more citizens in the election process.” In actuality, voter ID laws negatively impact minority voter turnout in comparison to white voter turnout.  [The Heritage Foundation, 2/15/23; Brennan Center, 1/10/22]
  • The Claremont Institute

    • The Claremont Institute promoted school choice programs as an option to combat “woke education” such as critical race theory, even calling current promoters of school choice programs “insufficiently radical.” School choice programs have been shown to increase racial disparities between students, and studies on voucher programs have shown little academic performance increases. [Center for the American Way of Life, 9/18/21; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8/22/22; The Parent’s Campaign, accessed 7/9/24]
    • Targeting those who have donated to Black Lives Matter, Claremont Institute’s John Cohen wrote for The Federalist a piece titled “Your Black Lives Matter Donation May Have Helped Hamas,” demonizing BLM’s “direct support of Palestinian groups” and close work with “numerous domestic, left-wing, pro-Palestinian organizations.” [The Federalist, 10/12/23]
    • Claremont’s The American Mind published a piece titled “White Pills for the New Year,” which celebrates that “the Republican share of the black vote has increased” and encouraged “continuing to make dents” to “cause soul-searching for Democrats.” [The American Mind, 12/28/23]
  • The Frederick Douglass Foundation

    • The Frederick Douglass Foundation, an anti-abortion “free speech” organization, criticized the Biden administration’s effort to limit credit card late fees, which are known to disproportionately affect minority credit card users. The group said the fee caps will “disproportionately hurt the African American community” by inadvertently raising costs and forcing them out of traditional banks. [Alliance Defending Freedom, 8/15/23; The Frederick Douglass Foundation, accessed 6/27/24; American Progress, 4/9/24]
  • Independent Women’s Forum

    • The Independent Women’s Forum published a blog titled “Biden’s Pro-Union Agenda Robs Opportunities For Blacks.” IWF director of Center for Economic Opportunity Patrice Onwuka claims the Biden administration is destroying opportunities for Black Americans business owners and entrepreneurs with his “partisan economic policies that are grounded in political favoritism.” Unions are known for promoting racial equity in the workplace and supporting Black and other minority workers. [Independent Women’s Forum, 5/31/24; Economic Policy Institute, 7/31/23]
    • In a similar post originally published in The Daily Caller, Onwuka claimed that “Bidenomics” is destroying Black businesses and pointed to growth in black-owened businesses during Trump’s presidency. According to PolitiFact, Black Americans have done even better under Biden, “particularly for such metrics as inflation-adjusted household income, business startups and health insurance coverage,” even though, according to an economist with Brookings, “the absolute and relative economic status of African Americans improved under both presidents.” [Independent Women’s Forum, 5/22/24; PolitiFact, 6/25/24]
    • Onwuka wrote another commentary piece that argued for school choice as “effective for improving opportunities and outcomes for black kids and students overall.” School choice programs have been shown to increase racial disparities between students and studies on voucher programs have shown little academic performance increases. [Independent Women’s Forum, 4/7/24; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8/22/22; The Parent’s Campaign, accessed 7/9/24]
    • In another piece, Onwuka laid out ways for the right to “welcome disengaged Blacks to the conservative movement,” claiming “conservatives have an opportunity to offer something new and better” to Black voters. She again argued in support of school choice and claimed the left is behind high “tax-raising schemes” and “regulatory burdens” that negatively impact businesses or immigrants and felons trying to find work. [Independent Women’s Forum, 1/4/24]
    • In a 2020 opinion piece in USA Today, Onwuka claimed Trump’s “policies of corporate tax cuts and deregulation” are reasons Black voters should elect him again. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Trump’s 2017 tax regulations failed to increase economic development and even increased “racial disparities in after-tax income.” [USA Today, 11/1/20; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/13/24]
  • Job Creators Network

    • The Job Creators Network claimed that a conservative effort to expand school choice in Georgia “allows poor and minority students to follow in our footsteps,” yet school choice increases racial segregation and has not been shown to increase academic performance. [Job Creators Network, 4/8/24; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8/22/22; Center for American Progress, 3/20/18]
  • National Center for Public Policy Research and Project 21 Black Leadership Network

    • Project 21 Black Leadership Network is an offshoot project of the National Center for Public Policy Research that promotes conservative ideology to Black voters. Project 21 published a series of studies on what issue areas mean for Black voters called “What it Means for Black America.” [Project 21, accessed 7/2/24, accessed 7/9/24]
    • Project 21 is co-chaired by former Voice of America deputy director Horace Cooper, alongside director of membership Donna Jackson. Jackson’s Project 21 biography says she also serves on the Project 2025 advisory board. [Project 21, Blueprint for a Better Black America, 2022; National Center for Public Policy Research, accessed 7/9/24]
    • One of these pieces, titled “What Election Reform Means for Black America,” argues in favor of stricter voter ID laws backed by conservative politicians. The piece states that the organization believes “key provisions of the Biden Administration-backed voting rights legislation …  would actually do more harm to black voters than to the rest of the electorate” and “voter ID laws are necessary to ensure the integrity of our elections and to ensure black Americans have confidence in them.” The piece also argues that Democrats’ voting rights efforts are “free speech restrictions more befitting of an incipient dictatorship than a functioning democracy.” [Project 21, accessed 7/2/24]
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation

    • The Texas Public Policy Foundation argued that “white Democrats” are “fighting to keep kids whose parents can’t afford to move to a better school district or go to a private school from accessing the American Dream” in a blog post titled “School Choice IS the Civil Rights Movement of Our Time.” The article stated that “opposition to school choice” is “rooted in segregation,” and claimed “teachers’ union segregationists” were against private school vouchers because they would open up space for Black students in public schools. In reality, school choice programs were designed as a way to continue segregating schools following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, and they have been found to increase segregation. [Texas Public Policy Foundation, 2/12/24; NEA Today, 8/19/21; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8/22/22]
  • Turning Point USA and BLEXIT

    • Turning Point USA powers BLEXIT, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit targeting Black voters to persuade them to leave the Democratic Party. According to the Turning Point website, “The BLEXIT Foundation, co-founded by Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum, stands for ‘Black Exit.’ The initiative was established to empower all, by abolishing the victimhood mentality that holds many back from pursuing freedom and obtaining the American Dream. This Foundation exists to dispel the notion that anyone is oppressed in America simply because of the color of their skin, and encourages black Americans to challenge the cultural narrative imposed on them.” [BLEXIT, accessed, 6/27/24; Turning Point USA, 3/13/23]
    • Turning Point and its staff have spewed overt anti-Black racism for years. In January, Kirk claimed diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives lower professional standards, saying, “If I see a Black pilot, I’m going to be like, ‘Boy, I hope he’s qualified.’” [Media Matters, 1/25/24, 9/15/23; SPLC, 2/16/18; WIRED, 1/12/24]
    • At a BLEXIT event in June, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk said college is “a scam that really hurts Black Americans a lot.” At the same event, Kirk said, “If you want to be a slave, you’ll continue to be a slave.” [Twitter/X, 6/26/24, 6/26/24]
    • The Turning Point USA X account tagged BLEXIT and quoted Kirk saying, “I refuse to live under the bigotry of low expectations that the left constantly has of Black Americans.” [Twitter/X, 6/13/24]
    • In May, the official BLEXIT account tweeted, “Black Americans across the United States are waking up to the truth: the left has no intention of genuinely helping the Black community.” [Twitter/X, 5/31/24]
    • Michaelah Montgomery, state director of BLEXIT’s Georgia chapter, organized Trump’s attempted outreach to Black voters during a trip to an Atlanta Chick-fil-A in April. [The Associated Press, 4/12/24; BLEXIT, accessed 6/27/24]
    • Identified on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle as a “Georgia voter,” Montgomery attacked Biden’s immigration policy as offensive to Black Americans. Montgomery said, “We’ve been living in these neighborhoods for generations. And now you can bus in these folks who just got here. And you are now willing to provide them with resources that we have been begging for for the past couple of decades.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 5/29/24]