Tyler Cowen thinks not:
I would like to hazard a prediction that no, it cannot happen here. I won’t claim it could never happen over the centuries, rather that it can’t happen in anything recognizably like the America of today.
My argument is pretty simple: American fascism cannot happen anymore because the American government is so large and unwieldy. It is simply too hard for the fascists, or for that matter other radical groups, to seize control of. No matter who is elected, the fascists cannot control the bureaucracy, they cannot control all the branches of American government, they cannot control the judiciary, they cannot control semi-independent institutions such as the Federal Reserve, and they cannot control what is sometimes called “the deep state.” The net result is they simply can’t control enough of the modern state to steer it in a fascist direction.
This yields a new defense of Big Government, which is harder to take over, and harder to “turn bad,” than many a smaller government…
Worth reading in full. It’s adapted from a chapter he’s written for Cass Sunstein’s latest collection: Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America