There are four signs that a democracy could be moving towards an authoritarian regime, according to Dr, Golfo Alexopoulos of the University of South Florida. One sign is a leader seizing control of media – silencing critical voices and spreading propaganda. Others include controlling elections and using force to intimidate political foes. Finally, there is dehumanizing anyone who disagrees with a leader and attacking them as unpatriotic.
Class discussion: Do you worry that democracy is endangered by authoritarian leaders? Can you find historical examples of democracies that fell to autocratic rulers? Can you find any current examples? Why would people be willing to follow authoritarian leaders? Could the United States be taken over by an autocratic regime? Why or why not? Could growing political division and extreme rhetoric make our democracy vulnerable?