“Mussolini undermined the institutions and culture of Italian democracy persistently and methodically. He denounced any negative press coverage of him as “abusive” and “criminal,” and demanded that the offending reporters and editors be fired. In Parliament he made offhand remarks about abolishing the constitution, creating a secret police and becoming a dictator. He dismissed officials who were insufficiently servile. He bullied Parliament into passage of an electoral law that guaranteed his coalition’s victory in the 1924 elections. And he stayed silent when Fascists beat up or killed opposition politicians.”
Every work of fiction that describes the US turning into a dictatorship starts like this. A populist is elected, bullies the press, consolidates power, uses the DOJ to attack his opponents and then turns the FBI into his secret police force.