‘Political’ Political Constitutionalism and the ‘Populist’ Challenge

Against the charge that majoritarian decisionmaking processes might feed populism, 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 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 the second part, I examine the problems of an excessively ‘political’ political constitutionalism. I argue that despite being the most political area of the law, constitutional law is not to be conflated with ordinary politics as some political constitutionalists argue. Finally, I conclude with some remarks on the aptness of political constitutionalism for practical constitutional authority.