The first thing that happens is a charismatic political novice determines which political party to take over. You need a party whose voting base is easily manipulatable, immediately vilifies anyone they're told to hate, and are scared easily.
After ascending into control of their chosen political party, the individual invokes a win at all costs strategy. Any law they need to break, any alliance they need to cement, any deal with the devil they need to broker, they'll do it. They'll tell any lie, no matter how boldfaced. They'll equate their opponents to the worst filth and slime the planet has ever seen. They'll do whatever it takes for their voter's votes to count twice, while demanding every vote for their opponent is fraudulent and invalid. Against all odds, they convince just enough people they're a populist, and claim victory.
As they being to assume control, they declare war on the press. To get their nefarious agenda passed without raising too many eyebrows, they need the public to believe only the media favorable to their cause, while labeling the other news outlets untrustworthy.
Every law or rule they enact is declared to be one of the greatest achievements in Democracy. Every law or rule they replace needed to go because it hurt you, was a burden, was failing, or would've killed everyone. They begin to push a 'I saved you' narrative.
They embrace the most popular religion, or at least the religion's most diehard fanatics, promising to enact certain rules and laws designed to placate the zealots, many of whom use their religion to try to validate their personal bigotries, bigotries which have no place in their religion.
They start converting a governmental regulatory agency into their personal hired thugs, handing them almost unlimited power and funds, grossly expanding their realm of enforcement, and giving them the authority to shoot first and come up with the justification later, if ever.
The leader then puts on an earnest face as they tell the country we might just need to start limiting the ability to vote for 'certain groups,' to ensure the election process stays fair. Thus begins the purging of a large percentage of the voting populace from the voting rolls.
He then starts removing the party loyalists he had to take into his administration after the election, appointed to appease the party he rode in on. The purge is shockingly fast, within a few months of being sworn in, buoyed with excuses like "our personalities clashed," or "they were leaking information to the media."
They then announce, the way their legal team interprets the law, they're above all legal recourse, deeming all of their actions legal. They not only insist they pardon themselves for all crimes they've committed, and their staff for all the crimes they've commit, but they now bequeath they can pardon themselves prior to a crime being discovered, prosecuted or committed.
When he doesn't get his way, because the opposition party manages to stop him, he and his mouthpieces start suggesting the idea of a military crackdown on his opponents. This is usually implied in a "wouldn't it be great to teach those no good meddlers how much they should be grateful for our political leader! We should show them how much worse it could actually be for them..."
And all of this is surrounded by a never ending accolade of self congratulation and narcissistic decrees.
Welcome to the United State of America, 2017. Trump has done a version of all of these things, at various levels of accomplishment.
Throughout the history of this country, America's political leaders have made rules which would prevent a dictator from taking over the Democracy. A lot of the rules came from trial and error (I'm looking squarely at you John Adams) and have been honed to deal with such issues as death, health problems, and even behavior unbecoming of the ideals of the USA.
A scenario which was never accounted for was the Legislative Branch going along with the treasonous, traitorous behavior, as long as the House and Senate leaders were allowed to pursue their own nefarious agendas. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand worshipper, a man whose goal is to take the USA government back to the 1880's when the people really had no say in how things went. He wants no workers rights, no salary guarantees and no chances for everyman opportunity. There was only a handful of wealthy people making all the rules, and if you didn't like them, you could choose to die quickly or slowly. That's the perfect world of Paul Ryan.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a racist, with a long history of hating African Americans. He wants to wipe the earth of any mention of the man he hates more than anyone else, former President Barack Obama.
Both of them have all the makings of an American von Ribbentrop.
Trump has a long way to go if he wants to take over with a true dictatorship, but I've no doubt he already has plans in place for his version of a 'Night of the Long Knives.' Here are the big hurdles he'll need to address to pull us into the death spiral of the American experiment: all 50 states won't go along with his plans, and if 20 or more plus push back, especially New York, Illinois, and California, things become more complicated. I don't think most military members would freely go along with attacking their own citizens. As a veteran, let me say some of them would, but most would walk away. Injustice becomes harder in a world where there are cameras everywhere. And there seems to be enough Republicans who have officially hit their limit with the buffoonish antics of our President.
We seem to be getting into a very new and terrifying place in the USA. Here's hoping we wake up before it is too late.