If you read the later stages of the Roman Empire, you see all sorts of different populists step up to try and combat the rich oligarchs who were corrupting Rome. There were men like the Gracchi who tried to restore the rights of the people to their land and to give them debt and economic relief. These guys failed and were brutally stopped. There were others who came along as well. They used the law to challenge the corruption of the entrenched elites, but the elites held all the strings of power and crushed them.
Eventually, a man came along who was ambitious, generous with his wealth, and who, though trained by the elites of Rome, was also a threat to them because he was so capable. He conquered the enemies of Rome, dealt with his enemies in Rome and used the power of his office to be generous to his soldiers and the ordinary citizens.
But when it came time for him to give up his power, as was custom among Roman dictators (they were only dictators for a short time) he decided not to. Why? Because he saw how the elites treated those who played the game fairly, so he decided to keep his power and the Roman Republic was ended.
His name was Julius Caesar. The elites got their revenge on him, but he destroyed the power of the senate and enslaved the Oligarchic families of Rome to the power of a monarchy. The Roman Republic ended and the Roman Empire had begun. Augustus, Caesar’s successor, was the first Roman since the early pre-republican monarchy to again wear a crown.
I wonder who is going to be the American Julius Caesar? Some future populist is going to see how the corrupt in power are treating Trump, and they will decide not to give up their power once they get it. Republican systems are the most unstable systems in the world. Only one has not fallen into dictatorship at some point, and that is the American system.
But all the signs are that it is now no longer a real democracy, the President is ruled by elites behind the curtain, and anyone who tries to stop them is to be crushed by the “legal” system.
Interesting times ahead.