The question is not hyperbolic. From Naomi Wolfe at the aier.org:
In 2008, I wrote a book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. I warned, based on my study of closing democracies in 20th century history, that America needed to beware of a slide toward totalitarianism.
I warned that would-be tyrants, whether they are on the left or the right, always use a map to close down democracies, and that they always take the same ten steps. Whether it’s “Invoke a Terrifying Internal and External Threat,” “Create a Thug Caste,” “Target the Press,” or the final step, “Suspend the Rule of Law,” these steps are always recognizable; and they always work to crush democracies and establish tyrannies. At that time, the “global threat” of terrorism was the specter that powers invoked in order to attack our freedoms.
The book was widely read and discussed, both at the time of its publication and for the last 12 years. Periodically over the last decade, people would ask me when and if we had reached “Step Ten.”
We – my brave publisher, Chelsea Green, and I — are releasing the first and last chapters of The End of America now, in 2021, for free, and I am calling the sequel to this book, which I am now writing, Step Ten – because as of March of last year, we have indeed, I am so sad to say, arrived at and begun to inhabit Step Ten of the ten steps to fascism.