Born Populist: The Trump Administration, the Courts and the Constitution of the United States

Louis Hartz famously declared that American liberalism was different from European’s because Americans were “born” (liberal) without having to become so. European liberals needed a strong state while American liberals were more inclined to treat liberty as freedom from government. That the US was born populist may explain some differences between the ways in which the Trump Administration and other right-wing populist governments have sought to implement a similar agenda. Right-wing populists in countries as diverse as Venezuela, Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Israel have had to tear down a regime with some degree of commitment to what I have called thickened progressive cosmopolitan constitutional democracy. The Trump Administration, by comparison, does not confront a constitution, culture or judiciary with nearly the same degree of commitment to such values. The result is that goals other populists have sought through radical transformation have been achieved by minor tweaks in the US.