What’s constitutionalist about Political Constitutionalism?

In 'Poland’s Constitutional Breakdown', Wojciech Sadurski observes that there is an unfortunate tendency to treat Poland as an instance of political constitutionalism in action. This tendency is natural. After all, in the post-2015 Polish developments, there has been a resistance to giving the courts ‘the last word’ on constitutionality of statutes, and a prioritisation of the political will unchecked by the courts. This paper uses the Polish example to probe the demands of political constitutionalism. In particular, it asks: what’s constitutionalist about ‘political constitutionalism’? If political constitutionalism prioritises the will of political elites, how do we distinguish political constitutionalism from authoritarian populism? Drawing on recent work on the theory of political constitutionalism under the British constitution, I use the British-Polish comparison to tease out the implicit constitutional constraints embedded in ‘the political constitution’.