Ok, this is a doctoral level topic, so I am going to be doing a quick and dirty here.
The Roman Republic was dying for reason that are discussed endlessly. At the death of Julius Caesar, his teenaged great nephew Octavian inherited his money and his political clout. Octavian ran with it. He used legalish methods to set up what we now call the Roman Empire. At his death, his step-son Tiberius took power as an official Roman Emperor.
So what? America has reached the same point that Rome was at before Octavian entered the picture. The problem is that we don’t have the caliber of leaders Rome had at that time. We have some ambitious types and some qualified, but we don’t have an impending Augustus. Instead we have Donald Trump, who is a disaster for the Republic and should he fall (and he probably will) we have Pence who is a dangerous reactionary.
We have no Augustus waiting in the wings; young, ambitious and capable of rebuilding America into something new that will carry on the ideals of America even if the freedoms of the Republic have died. We will disappear. The luckier parts will carry on, the states that can stand on their own when the Federal government dies by evisceration. Perhaps this will free the Northeastern states from propping up the money pits of the South, but so much potential will be lost in the vacuum of a “Free” South. Without California money to pave their roads, how long will Wyoming last? The very people who fell for Trump’s lies will be the ones to suffer from the results.
Trump is the antithesis of Augustus’ great rebuilding of Rome in an Imperial image. As much as we like to believe we’re beyond history, we aren’t. The story has been written and for too many Americans, the ending sucks.