If I were asked to summarize The Dictator's Handbook in a single sentence, I'd say “The tyrants of the world are all working out of the same instruction manual, and once you know what to look for, you recognize it everywhere.”
That makes it increasingly tough to read the news from back home. Let's go to Florida for a look at stellar dictator practice in action!
In the succinct sarcasm of The Economist, “Does America have a democracy problem?” Head to sunny Florida and you'd think the answer is Yes.
Florida passed a law in 2011 that imposed heavy burdens on people who register votersâ€”heavy enough that groups such as the League of Women Voters, which has been registering voters across the country for 92 years, simply shut down their registration drives. The law required groups to turn in registration forms within 48 hours of their being filled out, or face a $1,000 fine. It imposed burdensome record-keeping requirements. Forms from Florida's secretary of state told registration agents that they "could be imprisoned for five years for sending in a voter registration application that includes false information, even if the registration agent does not know or have reason to believe the information is false" — a statement that happens to be untrue, as that is not the law. Michael Bennett, the senator who sponsored this legislation, said, "I want the people in the state of Florida to want to vote as badly as that person in Africa who is willing to walk 200 miles for that opportunity heâ€™s never had before in his life. This should not be easy." A federal judge struck down that law at the end of May. He also sharply rebuked Mr Bennett, telling him that Florida "doesn't have an interest in making it hard to vote. That's not a permissible goal."
Read the rest at the Economist and cry into your beer. How is it possible for the American government to advocate democracy elsewhere? Physician, heal thyself.