It can happen all at once, or gradual. Simply research some history for how it affected different nations. Rome, Wiemar Germany, and Argentina come to mind. Those were(and are) slow creeps to collapse. Others were as quick as a lightning strike. As with Rome, it was all about “bread and circuses”. Keep the masses happy, and the creep isn’t noticed until it’s too late.
Never challenge a man who has nothing left to lose.