Be very afraid: Trump's "Agenda 47" is no joke

This is not a joke or funny: You should be very afraid of Trump's fascist Agenda 47 plan

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published July 14, 2023 5:30AM (EDT)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign event on July 1, 2023 in Pickens, South Carolina. The former president faces a growing list of primary challengers in the Republican Party. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign event on July 1, 2023 in Pickens, South Carolina. The former president faces a growing list of primary challengers in the Republican Party. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is now describing himself as some type of new avatar for the Spirit of '76, Founding Father for the 21st century, a defender of liberty and freedom against tyranny. To that point, in fundraising emails and in other communications, Trump is proclaiming that he is waging a great battle against the so-called deep state and "Joe Biden, the Democrats, and their corrupt administration":

Yesterday, we celebrated the 247th anniversary of our independence as a free nation.

We paid tribute to the great patriots who sacrificed everything so that we could have the chance to be free.

But sadly, our great nation is on the brink of falling victim to the dark forces of tyranny that our Founding Fathers fought so valiantly against.

We now find ourselves in a new quest for independence.

A cabal of unelected bureaucrats, often referred to as the Deep State, are attempting to amass total control over our country and stop you from having a voice in your own government.

There were many times when the cause of our Founding Fathers looked bleak. The odds were certainly not in their favor.

They were standing up to the largest empire the world had ever seen…

…But the cause of freedom proved to be the most powerful force on the face of the planet.

Our Founding Fathers won their David-vs-Goliath battle for liberty and gave us the greatest nation on God's green earth.

Now, our nation is engulfed in the final battle for America. If we win the 2024 election, we will reclaim our independence, our liberty, and our justice.

But if we lose, then our Republic will be gone for good.

Just as the patriots – who we honor today – refused to surrender, neither can we.

Together, we will save our country and we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Trump is especially proud that Tucker Carlson, a neofascist and fake right-wing populist, reportedly anointed him as one of the most important leaders in American history, a type of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. In a recent fundraising email, Trump crowed that:

Tucker Carlson recently said that President Trump's emergence will go down as the most significant turning point in American politics in 100 years.

In other words, in 2024, YOU can cast the most consequential vote in a century.

Just like Americans before you had the chance to vote for Washington and Lincoln, YOU now stand at a very unique point in our nation's history to cast a monumental vote to SAVE our Republic and stop our nation's descent into tyranny.

President Trump's ascent to the national stage gave a voice to what was once called the Silent Majority.

But, we're not so silent anymore!

On November 5, 2024, the ENTIRE WORLD will hear our voice as we peacefully take back the reins and put President Donald J. Trump back in the White House.

Trump literally wraps himself in the American flag. For all intents and purposes, he is also carrying a big White Christian cross in his role as MAGA Jesus martyr – although he has not set the cross on fire…yet. His MAGA cultists have repeatedly demonstrated that they most certainly believe that he is their savior and a great – if not the greatest — American president and patriot. 

There are in fact connections between Trump and America's War for Independence from the British. Contrary to Trump's fantasies, he is more like the tyrant and demagogue King George III than America's Founding Fathers and other heroes. To wit: Donald Trump is promising (threatening) to implement what he is describing as "Agenda 47" when he takes back the White House in the 2024 Election.

Agenda 47 would consist of an end to birthright citizenship, further criminalizing transgender people and the LGBTQI community more broadly, expanding the thought crime and other censorship laws to end the teaching of "critical race theory" and to defeat "Woke" and "Black Lives Matter", attacking academic freedom and replacing it with "patriot education", implementing a national stop and frisk law, pardoning the Jan. 6 terrorists, putting homeless people in camps or some other designated area under threat of arrest, building high tech "freedom cities", ending the professional civil service and replacing it with right-wing political appointees and other such partisan agents, gutting the Department of Justice and other parts of the government that opposed Trump's attacks on democracy and the rule of law, executing drug dealers, starting a trade war with China, and making "peace" with Vladimir Putin by withdrawing support for the Ukrainian people and their freedom struggle. In many ways, Agenda 47 is a continuation of the fascist and other authoritarian policies Trump put in place during his first regime but now made even more extreme and cruel.

For the most part (the Washington Post being a notable exception), the American mainstream media and political class have responded to Trump's Agenda 47 and its earlier iterations with a combination of laughs, mocking, schadenfreude, and indifference. And of course, there were the obvious jokes about the Jetsons cartoon with its flying cars and futuristic cities.

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But nothing about Agenda 47 is childish, innocent, or funny. Fascism in its various forms is a revolutionary project that draws inspiration from a fictive past and "golden age" in order to destroy the current order and replace with some type of ideal society based upon the authoritarian leader and the movement. Trump's Agenda 47 fits that model almost perfectly.

I asked Paul Mason, who is author of the book "How to Stop Fascism: History, Ideology, Resistance" for his thoughts about Trump's Agenda 47 and the mainstream new media and political class's failure to take it seriously. Via email he warned:

The key difference between Agenda 47 and the original Trump pitch in 2016 is its total lack of focus on corporate, capitalist goals, and its total focus on fulfilling right-wing populist fantasies. Dud city building projects in the desert, the expulsion of homeless people to tent cities, the pardon of fascist insurrectionaries and a year-long funfair… it's like a politics designed around video-game fantasies. The good news is, it's a signal of how detached Trump is even from the libertarian-turned-fascist wing of the American tech elite. It lacks any sense of realism even about the agenda they want - massive deregulation and the marketisation of public services.

The bad news is that it could work. Like QAnon, this collection of fantasies will take on a life of its own and is intended to: you can design your own state fair, state by state, with the Gadsden flags and AR-15 firing ranges. You can fantasize about which particular homeless street you would hose down first, the day after the inauguration. What matters is that serious GOP politicians push back and explain gently to the American people that this is baby talk, and that what stands behind it - should Trump succeed - is the intended collapse of American power and status in the world.

The imaginary cities are about more than just Jetson fantasies - they will be read, quite openly, as white only; and on Federal land they will be designed to abrogate the rights of homeless people - they're a sop to the fantasies of the seasteaders and the preppers. Like all fascist myths they are designed to animate action in the present rather than actually to get built - just like Hitler's never built Germania model: it was something to clear slums for and remove populations long before they ever actually planned to build it.

I also asked Jared Yates Sexton, who is the author of the book "The Midnight Kingdom: A History of Power, Paranoia, and the Coming Crisis", for his thoughts and concerns about Trump's Agenda 47. Via email he offered this context:

The entirety of what Donald Trump offers, or rather the cronies around him who handle the ideology and focus of his disgusting campaigns, is a reheated version of prior fascist and authoritarian movements. Promises to "clean up" the messes in government while using new technologies to deliver the "future" and powerwash culture.

We've seen this before. And we'll see it again. Whenever demagogues understand an opening that prioritizes cruelty and meaningless hope, they are quick to fill the voice. And the people around Trump understand it is a perfect environment to unleash their wildest and most violent dreams.

Why have the mainstream news media, commentariot, pundits, and responsible political class, failed, for the most part, to correctly assess and respond to Trump's fascist-authoritarian Agenda 47, and the Trumpocene and America neofascism, more generally?

Beyond moral cowardice, careerism, "bothsideism", "centrism", and financial concerns, many people in the mainstream news media and Fourth Estate are uncomfortable with big ideas about society and politics. By training and intellectual orientation, they tend towards incrementalism and serving Power and existing regimes of knowledge and truth. The mainstream media, the Fourth Estate, and larger political class are also limited in their ability to understand the real origins and dimensions of America's democracy crisis because of a slavish commitment to folk theories of democracy and normal politics where both the Republican and Democratic Party and their voters are imagined as being reasonable and decent people who are equally committed to democracy and the civic health and survival of the nation.

That is no longer true: today's Republican Party and the larger "conservative" movement and white right view multiracial pluralistic democracy, the rule of law, the Constitutional order, and its governing institutions as illegitimate and corrupt.  They are to be torn down and replaced with a system of competitive authoritarianism and White Christian herrenvolk tyranny of the minority where the Republican fascists and larger right-wing rule for all time and by any means necessary – including violence.

To that point, James Scaminaci III, who is a sociologist and a retired intelligence analyst, briefed me via email on the escalating danger(s) embodied by Donald Trump and his MAGA movement:

Trump is the most dangerous politician in America, perhaps even more dangerous than the treasonous, seditious original Confederates that seceded from the Union. Trump has pursued a Fourth Generation Warfare strategy to delegitimize the federal government, especially but not limited to those with the real power to detect, investigate, and prosecute him for federal crimes up to treason: the FBI, the DOJ, the NSA, the CIA, and the DOD. His objective if he becomes the 47th president is to completely gut these institutions, what the revolutionary MAGA call the "deep state." He will eviscerate the excepted civil service and completely destroy the rule of law, transparency in government, and efficient, non-partisan bureaucratic institutions. For all intents and purposes, democracy will be over, and the peace and security of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region jeopardized for hundreds of millions of people for generations. He will have destroyed everything our ancestors, including the "Greatest Generation's" key accomplishments of fostering European and Asia-Pacific stability, prosperity, and peace.

At its core, fascism is a movement and political project that is based on big ideas, a grand vision, and passionate emotions. To not understand those dimensions of fascism means that one is not able to defeat it. Because of that fact, we the Americans are in big trouble. Our leaders have failed us.

By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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