This is a pretty amazing report from Freedom House called Breaking Down Democracy. It details how authoritarian regimes are becoming stronger by harnessing the very trends and institutions (electoral democracy, internet and new media, and market economies) that everyone 20 years ago thought would sound the death knell for authoritarianism.
I have thought about this a lot--that it seems like modern authoritarian regimes are able to stay in power by coopting the opinions and thus the will of the people, such that they are the "legitimate" representatives of a brainwashed, willing populace. But until now I had no structured way of describing this, and didn't know if it was just my subjective, unfounded opinion. It's scary to confirm my worst hunches, but heartening that others are thinking about this and hopefully finding ways of fighting such trends.