America has the most brilliant totalitarian government in history
It forces total dependency on the system of constantly earning money by ensuring everyone is deeply in debt and doesn't have extended support systems like family to depend on. This forces people to need constant employment, or to depend on the government.
When it wants to stop someone from speaking out, it doesn't directly arrest them. It just has HR fire them. With the above taken into account, forces almost all into total compliance without violence.
Have a state church that is secular in nature and thus gets around the First Amendment. A secularized Calvinism fits the US nicely. Replace God's Judgement with the End of History. Replace the Original Sin of Adam with the Original Sin of European Privilege discriminating against weaker groups you can control. Build a confessional state built around European Guilt with its own political theology, Saints, and so on. Classify people opposed to this as mentally ill and in need of medication.
The state church offers a promise of eliminating all conflict by effecting ending ethnic, religious, national, linguistic, and all other forms of identity. In exchange, you must be willing to renounce your own group identity to show the beginning of your contrition. Certain groups that are weak enough (AA) can be allowed to keep an identity, but only because they are entirely dependent on the system to maintain any kind of power. The new identity will be based on shared consumerist preferences, idolization of Saints (MLK Jr, Floyd, Mandela), willingness to offer penitence to new identity groups that emerge, and support for "human rights"
Create a group of credentialed experts with their own guides your religion can control by offering profits and contrition to it members. Withdraw credentials to all who break with the Cathedrals line.
When it wages war for religion (progressivism), it places someone like Bush in charge so they can act like it is being waged for non religious reasons. This gives them a cover to spread religious causes like consumerism, korn, LBGT, feminism, etc.. to push other societies into the GAE.
When waging war, try to abide by certain rules. Just have local militia groups on your payroll, various dictators, or civilian contractors do most of the ethnic cleansing, torture, and other dirty work. When you commit these crimes yourself, just tell everyone it is a "National Security" threat, and needs to be classified. In 50 years when it is declassified nobody will care if it turns out you wiped out ten times as many civilians as you were claiming.
Control the media through selecting which journalists are allowed press access, give the media "former" White House officials/CIA operatives/generals, HR departments, and subsidies.
If they need to spy on people, they can just have corporate or foreign governments do it. They will also run their own, but just keep it mostly secret and persecute any whistleblowers.
Use elections as a front. The permanent bureaucracy of government employees, universities, and corporations actually control everything and will manufacture a consensus. In the mean time, fuel people's narcissism by telling them that voting is the most important thing, democracy is the highest value, and use democracy to encourage people to worship themselves. Tell people that they really matter to this system and are an equal part of it.
Staff your administrative system with as many dysfunctional people in public roles as you can without causing an immediate collapse. This might lead to issues with competency, but you can almost always get a bailout. Place women, LBGT, Africans, disabled, and other that would never be able to rise to their position normally. They will be far more loyal because they know they cannot actually compete. You can then use them as a shield to deflect any criticism of your administration, enable them to threaten lawsuits against competitors. The media will have to walk on eggshells criticizing them to avoid lawsuits.
Intimidate political opponents with mobs. As long as violence remains decentralized, you can escape almost all culpability.
Destroy your peoples faith in God and objective reality. Introduce mass media. Once you have undermined their sense of reality, have 24/7 news cycles constantly change focus to create maximum confusion. Get you people addicted to social media, TV, korn, video games, fast food, and everything else susceptible to HR and staffed by your people. They will not be able to maintain focus long enough to remember what scandals embarrassed the system.
The threat of foreign invasion toppling such a regime would be massive in the past, but in the nuclear age the level of incompetence isn't a big factor. You merely have to manage your own population.
Infiltrate all opposition groups. HR and media pressure will break any that are organized. Any disorganized groups can be handled with decentralized violence committed by authorized groups and arresting anyone who resists. Most people will forget quickly.
You also need to expand internationally to show your followers that you have not lost sight of who is on the Right Side of History at its end. You know the End of History is coming and eternal peace will be achieved. Setbacks like Afghanistan could undermine the faith.
The system is not even generally led by people who are conventionally capable leaders. They usually only speak one language, have a tenuous, statistics, and philosophy. They usually know shockingly little of traditional high culture, theology, or history. None of them could lead armies into battle with confidence. The aesthetics tend to be atrocious.
But that has somehow been turned into a strength.
And it is so decentralized that you could wipeout any institution without seriously endangering the GAE.