The following post was prompted by the New York Times Op-Ed piece linked below.
give a fairly comprehensive description of what they call the "New Dictators" currently in power in several countries now. The techniques now employed resort to violence only occasionally, and with a good deal more precision. And though they make passing reference to the fact that the Western Democracies are hardly perfect, they don't really delve into what are the parallels between what their "New Dictators" do and what the more dispersed collective of "Big Money" does.
Most of their list is there; co-option, media control, and even violence, though there it is usually quite a bit more indirect; suddenly pulling the rug out from under people economically, denying health care, or putting poison emitters adjacent to the marginalized, which is violence used as an example of what happens to those who don't play along.
You should really keep this sort of thing in mind when you look down upon those obvious dictators with anything approaching comforted reproach. Doing business as usual in a money control democracy is letting a velvet hand of another kind jerk you off to your detriment. And it is most certainly not sustainable.
The New Dictators Rule by Velvet Fist
And just in case you needed some verification of the violence part, read this:
We Need Antibiotics. They’re Not Profitable To Make. Who Pays?