Our recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie. And we now know how close he came to subverting the Constitution.
We told you in a "Behind the Curtain" column last month that Trump allies are pre-screening the ideologies of thousands of potential appointees and employees in case he wins back the White House. Now we have copies of the exact questionnaires Trump allies are using — and that then-President Trump used himself during his final days in office.Why it matters: These future Trumpers would staff an unprecedented effort to centralize and expand presidential power at every level of the administration.Trump insiders are planning a far more targeted and sophisticated sequel to his haphazard first term, when internal feuding deterred policy wins or permanent changes to government.
The 2020 questionnaire — paired with the application the Heritage Foundation is currently collecting from job prospects for a future administration — points to a top-down government-in-waiting that would be driven more by ideology than by policy expertise or innovation.
Trump, the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination, is being explicit about his plans for retribution and disruption if he wins the 2024 election. So how he would staff his government is of immense consequence.
Driving the news: The 2020 "Research Questionnaire," which we obtained from a Trump administration alumnus, was used in the administration's final days — when most moderates and establishment figures had been fired or quit, and loyalists were flexing their muscles. Questions include:
- 'What part of Candidate Trump's campaign message most appealed to you and why?"
- "Briefly describe your political evolution. What thinkers, authors, books, or political leaders influenced you and led you to your current beliefs? What political commentator, thinker or politician best reflects your views?"
- "Have you ever appeared in the media to comment on Candidate Trump, President Trump or other personnel or policies of the Trump Administration?"
Between the lines: An alumnus of the Trump White House told us both documents are designed to test the sincerity of someone's MAGA credentials and determine "when you got red-pilled," or became a true believer."They want to see that you're listening to Tucker, and not pointing to the Reagan revolution or any George W. Bush stuff," this person said.
See for yourself: As an exclusive for Axios readers, at the bottom of this story you can read both the Trump questionnaire and 2025 application in full.
Both documents are striking for their emphasis on what you believe rather than your credentials or accomplishments.