It seems like all the dictators who started off by getting themselves elected "democratically" have followed similar paths. We can pretty much map them and see if a particular politician seems to have followed it.
Formula for Dictatorial Success
1. While trying to get elected you must harp on how awful it is for people and blame this on the current national leader. You must blame corporations and their 'bought' politicians for every problem under the sun.
2. You must promise the voters something for nothing. Actually you must promise them everything for nothing. You must make them really believe you will fix every problem and give them massive amounts of free stuff.
3. Once elected you must secure control of the media and schools. You must demean and label your opposition as evil, crazy and "out of step".
4. You must use the schools to propagandize. You must have TV propaganda aimed at the masses but also the children. Your doing it for them because the "others" hate children.
5. Selective prosecutions and punishing of your enemies and not your friends and allies. The courts and the lower-level governments must be put under your thumb. They must do your bidding.
6. Get around the legislature while its still possible for the opposition to win elections. Make as many bureacracies directly under your control as you can, lessen the powers of the elected legislature to as little as possible.
7. Have the government control important industries, tell the people this is because the old owners were thieves. National resources belong to the nation, everyone. Put your supporters into position to control industries. Loot government coffers to reward your allies. Raise taxes on "those who have too much" (not your friends and allies of course)
8. Bread & Circuses. May Day Parades. Patriotism must be at a fever pitch, somewhere on Earth is a dreaded evil enemy nation. Ramp up the rhetoric against this enemy nation, blame them for the problems people are having. Accuse all dissidents of being in league with this mortal enemy country.
9. After a while you outright ban opposition parties, rallies, parades and even their very speech. You take away their jobs, deny them welfare benefits etc. Meanwhile factory workers, government employees, schoolkids are made to attend pro-government parades and rallies, give them a bag of beans or rice for being there.
10. Congratulations! You have become a tin-pot dictator and managed to turn a prosperous nation into a banana republic.
Does any of this seem familiar? Then it is very possible that your country has a future dictator in its midst.
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