How do I rule with an iron fist? This has been the question on every political leader’s mind since humans first took up the practice of agriculture and immediately began schemes to control others. You might think that emulating the decrees of past sovereigns would guarantee you permanent power, but the crucial commonality that unites figures like Caligula, Henry VIII, Winston Churchill, and Benito Mussolini is that they are all dead failures. What we at the coalition of ‘Merican Governors want to do is create guidelines that will keep you alive as you pursue ultimate power. Follow these four easy steps, and you too can become Supreme Ruler of the United States! 

If you are reading this manual, you have clearly heard the seductive siren song of power and know that it is your birthright as a through-and-through autocrat — but getting anything beyond just this first debaucherous taste of power is your first obstacle. Our first tip is to make sure you have a strong and humble beginning to ensure you get some momentum going. This can be done through simple means such as: being the target of an attack by a tree and consequently receiving millions as compensation from your insurance provider, fighting the concept of schools, or even receiving a simple loan of one million dollars from a family member. These hypotheticals are all ways you could make your glorious debut, but it is important to remember that everyone’s rise to authority is unique. Don’t let your special start be overshadowed by anyone else. Ever. If this means setting the ladder behind you on fire, then don’t hesitate to tap into that inner pyromaniac.

Seeing enemies everywhere might be called paranoia by some, but you know that one can never trust potential usurpers, and as such every friend is a potential foe. Our second tip is to make sure you hold down the fort in your home territory. Everyone starts off somewhere, and you ought to ensure that none dare oppose you within your main base of support. Be it on a local or state level, as an authoritarian-to-be you will have to make sure that you can indefinitely maintain your power within the faux democracy of the US. If a group of people doesn’t like you, then you should use your authority to make voting against you harder, if not impossible. If the educated think they can use their so-called “critical thinking” skills to analyze your activity, then you should work to defund education and censor the content which the next generation of your supporters is exposed to. And if pesky radicals have the gall to protest you, then you should use the state’s monopoly on force to ensure they can never protest against you again. There can be no snakes in your midst as you prepare to seize the power you deserve, and as such you must completely eradicate dissenters under your sovereignty as soon as possible lest they dare act against you. 

Once you have set a strong foundation for yourself, you are ready to strike at the national level. In a country of millions, you won’t be the only one who is ravenous for power, but none will be as magnificent as you if you follow our third tip: be bombastic and extravagant with everything you do. Logic and reasoning are the vices of sophists; what you need is glamor and pizzazz. Stand out by engaging in machinations of such scope and ambition that none will understand your true motives as you complete step after step of your perfectly inscrutable plan. Targeting a discrete and insular minority will always help amplify your message since you are guaranteed to cause a reaction when you strip people of their rights. Do women in your dominion think they have bodily autonomy? Legislate that away. Do immigrants exist? Eat, breathe, and dream every xenophobic dog whistle possible. Maybe your schtick is hating everyone; perchance it is just highly specific and targeted hate. Nevertheless, you can’t just be another run-of-the-mill evil white man riding on the bandwagon of American vitriol. To be the Supreme Leader of America, you must be the wagon driver with each unpredictable and dastardly action you take. 

Once you have enraptured the public with your eminence, you need to use your influence to make the final path towards your throne. As such, our fourth and final tip is to start a civil war. In a country with as many guns and partisans as the US, all you need to do to set off this political powder keg is to rally your loyal followers to your banner. The institutions you have used to reach this level of prominence and authority may have served you well in the past, but they should have no place in your new society. During the period of civil war you should work on breaking everything that could hold you back, and making alliances to support your actions. If possible, make use of any nuclear weapons or military reserves within your territory to expedite your ascension and show people you really mean business. As you wipe the coasts of the US off the map, don’t forget to set up your government so that the governing transition is smoother. We recommend taking influence from the writings of those like Plato and Machiavelli since they make strong and clear arguments for ways to govern over your subordinates while maintaining supreme authority and unity. 

As you mold the ashes of the nation into your visage, you might wonder what to do with all your newfound power. There can be no cracks in your authority; forget notions of popular sovereignty and other fanciful lies, the true sovereignty and power within the newfound state of Younovia is your word. The only definition of justice is based on your whims, and the only sense of security should be what you feel when your secret guard stops another assassination attempt. Make the best of your time underground as you wait for the nuclear winter to pass by coming  up with some noble lies. Tell your remaining subjects sweet nothings so that they stay content with their situation and adore you because there can be no alternative. Your regime should be just as unique as you, so don’t pay any mind to things such as logical consistency within your laws or meeting the needs of your populace. What matters is that you always feel fulfilled and powerful in each action you take.