Authoritarians rise to power in part because establishment politicians overlook the warning signs and hand power over to them. Mussolini was invited to take power. A day after Hitler became chancellor, a prominent conservative who had helped him, said: “I have just committed the greatest stupidity of my life. I have allied myself with the greatest demagogue in world history.” What Levitsky and Ziblatt (in their book “How Democracies Die”) describe as “a lethal mix of ambition fear, and miscalculation” conspire to lead the establishment in country after country to the same fateful mistake: “willingly handing over the keys of power to an autocrat-in-the-making.”
“The abdication of political responsibility by existing leaders often marks a nation’s first step toward authoritarianism.”
How Democracies Die.