I don’t think for the moment that anyone is seriously predicting this sort of outcome, however it must be remembered, [difficult as it is in our ahistorical post modern era] that plenty of successful twentieth century tyrants leaned heavily on populist movements generated under economic duress and creating and leveraging fears prompted by uncertain futures:
The writer Webster Tarpley has argued that classical fascism is not just a police state imposed by a powerful elite, though it may end up that way. To cement the new order, fascism relies upon a widespread mass movement from below in which the people throw their enthusiastic support behind an apparent saviour.” and
One of the more ominous results of the Bush years was a steady concentration of power in the hands of the president. For one man to hold such power, and with legions of followers doing his bidding, is anathema to a system of checks and balances. And when a nation crippled by war and economic disaster is told that it must unite behind a messianic leader who will save it from destruction, history tends to provide a grim view on the future of that nation’s democratic political institutions.
Although I tend to disagree with the author – rather I expect the next populist authoritarian movement to be located, not in the USA [due to no particular skill attributable to Obama] but rather to one of the European tribes, especially if this particular economic downturn turns out to be both lengthy, exacerbated by a protectionist trade war [buy american anyone?] and immune to the ‘stimulus’ of corporatist europe.