By definition, dictatorial leaders wield immense power. But, as the history of 20th century authoritarianism shows, despite their power, dictators must take desperate steps to seize and hold their position.
In pursuit of that goal, any would-be dictator has first had to figure out how to control the masses. But what comes next, says political scientist Natasha Ezrow, is how real authoritarian control is established. A society's elites pose the most danger to the dictator, so how he deals with them can be a crucial decision.