‘Political’ political constitutionalism and the populist challenge

Against the charge that majoritarian decisionmaking processes might feed populism, in this paper I claim that political constitutionalism stands as a superior kind of constitutionalism for democratic societies than its liberal or legal alternative. In doing so I will argue that political constitutionalism is at odds with, and better than, the wide range of experiences labelled under the term ‘populism’. In the first part of the paper, I examine different approaches to the phenomenon of ‘populism’ and I critically analyse how constitutional theory approaches the relation between populism and constitutionalism. In this, my critique to the most common reaction from constitutional law to populism is twofold. In the second part of the paper, I examine two kinds of problems of an excessively ‘political’ political constitutionalism. Finally, I will conclude with some remarks on the aptness of political constitutionalism for practical constitutional authority.