1932

Abstract

This article reassesses the relationship between populism, democracy, and constitutionalism in light of the strong tendency toward personalism that populism often carries. Populists who have taken power in recent years have often sought to carry out formal or informal constitutional changes. Whereas some of these changes have been celebrated as constitutional innovations, many have been viewed as threats to democracy. Focusing on examples from Latin America, this article shows that despite the stress populists put on constitutional change, the phenomenon remains tied to the charisma of individual leaders. Populist leaders go to great lengths to remain in office, and succession poses an acute regime crisis. A core task for constitutional design is incentivizing populist leaders to leave power, which is more likely to be achieved by channeling politics than by judicial fiat. If this can be accomplished, the ultimate legacy of populist constitutions may be more beneficial, and less harmful, than commonly thought.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-041420-113519
2020-10-13
2024-06-25
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/lawsocsci/16/1/annurev-lawsocsci-041420-113519.html?itemId=/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-041420-113519&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Literature Cited

  1. Ackerman B. 2000. The new separation of powers. Harvard Law Rev 113:633–729
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Arato A. 2010. Post-sovereign constitution making in Hungary: After success, partial failure, now what. S. Afr. J. Hum. Rights 26:19–44
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bankuti M, Halmai G, Scheppele KL 2012. Hungary's illiberal turn: disabling the constitution. J. Democr. 23:138–46
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Brewer-Carias A. 2010. Dismantling Democracy in Venezuela: The Chavez Authoritarian Experiment New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bugaric B. 2019. Could populism be good for constitutional democracy. Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. 15:41–58
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chesterley N, Roberti P. 2018. Populism and institutional capture. Eur. J. Political Econ. 53:1–12
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Conniff ML. 2012. Brazil's populist republic and beyond. Populism in Latin America ML Conniff 48–70 Tuscalooosa: Univ. Ala. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  8. de la Torre C. 2010. Populist Seduction in Latin America Athens: Ohio Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Dixon R. 2018. Constitutional rights as bribes. Conn. Law Rev. 50:767–818
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Dixon R, Landau D. 2015. Transnational constitutionalism and a limited doctrine of unconstitutional constitutional amendment. Int. J. Const. Law 13:606–38
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Dixon R, Landau D. 2018. Tiered constitutional design. George Washington Law Rev 86:438–512
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Dixon R, Landau D. 2020. Constitutional end games: making presidential term limits stick. Hastings Law J 71:359–418
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Dixon R, Suk J. 2018. Liberal constitutionalism and economic inequality. Univ. Chicago Law Rev. 85:369–401
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Driscoll A, Nelson MJ. 2012. The 2011 judicial elections in Bolivia. Elect. Stud. 30:1–5
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Galston WA. 2018. The populist challenge to liberal democracy. J. Democr. 29:5–19
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Gargarella R. 2013. Latin American Constitutionalism, 1810–2010: The Engine Room of the Constitution New York: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Gidron N, Bonikowski B. 2013. Varieties of populism: literature review and research agenda Work. Pap. Ser. 13-0004 Weatherhead Cent., Harvard Univ Cambridge, MA:
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Ginsburg T, Huq A. 2018a. How to lose a constitutional democracy. UCLA Law Rev 65:78–169
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Ginsburg T, Huq A. 2018b. Democracy's “near misses.”. J. Democr. 29:16–30
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Gonzalez-Jacome J. 2017. From abusive constitutionalism to a multilayered understanding of constitutionalism: lessons from Latin America. Int. J. Const. Law 15:447–68
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Halmai G. 2019. The making of “illiberal constitutionalism” with or without a new constitution: the case of Hungary and Poland. Comparative Constitution Making D Landau, H Lerner 302–23 Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Hawkins KA. 2010. Venezuela's Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Horowitz J. 2012. Populism and its legacies in Argentina. Populism in Latin America ML Conniff 23–47 Tuscaloosa: Univ. Ala. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Issacharoff S. 2015. Fragile Democracies: Contested Power in the Era of Constitutional Courts New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Kazin M. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  26. King P. 2013. Neo-Bolivarian constitutional design. Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions DJ Galligan, M Versteeg 366–97 New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Laclau E. 2005. On Populist Reason London: Verso
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Landau D. 2013. Abusive constitutionalism. UC Davis Law Rev 47:189–260
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Landau D. 2018a. Populist constitutions. Univ. Chicago Law Rev. 85:521–43
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Landau D. 2018b. Constitution-making and authoritarianism in Venezuela: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? M Graber, S Levinson, M Tushnet 161–76 Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Landau D, Dixon R. 2020. Abusive judicial review: courts against democracy. UC Davis Law Rev 53:1313–87
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Landau D, Roznai Y, Dixon R 2019. From an unconstitutional constitutional amendment to an unconstitutional constitution? Lessons from Honduras. Glob. Const. 8:40–70
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Levitsky S, Loxton J. 2012. Populism and competitive authoritarianism: the case of Fujimori's Peru. See Mudde & Rovira Kaltwasser 2012a 136–59
  34. Levitsky S, Way L. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Levitsky S, Ziblatt D. 2018. How Democracies Die New York: Crown Publ.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Lowndes J. 2017. Populism in the United States. The Oxford Handbook of Populism C Rovira Kaltwasser, P Taggart, P Ochoa Espejo, P Ostiguy 232–47 Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Mansbridge J, Macedo S. 2019. Populism and democratic theory. Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. 15:59–77
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Moffitt B. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Mouffe C. 2018. For a Left Populism New York: Verso
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Mudde C. 2004. The populist zeitgeist. Gov. Oppos. 39:541–63
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Mudde C, Rovira Kaltwasser C 2012a. Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Mudde C, Rovira Kaltwasser C 2012b. Populism and (liberal) democracy: a framework for analysis. See Mudde & Rovira Kaltwasser 2012a 1–26
  43. Mudde C, Rovira Kaltwasser C 2013. Exclusionary versus inclusionary populism: comparing contemporary Europe and Latin America. Gov. Oppos. 48:147–74
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Mudde C, Rovira Kaltwasser C 2017. Populism: A Very Short Introduction Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Müller J-W. 2015. Should the EU protect democracy and the rule of law inside member states. Eur. Law J. 21:141–60
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Müller J-W. 2016. What Is Populism? Philadelphia: Univ. Pa. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Müller J-W. 2017. Populism and constitutionalism. The Oxford Handbook of Populism C Rovira Kaltwasser, P Taggart, P Ochoa Espejo, P Ostiguy 590–606 Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Negretto G. 2013. Making Constitutions: Presidents, Parties, and Institutional Choice in Latin America New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Plattner MF. 2019. Illiberal democracy and the struggle on the right. J. Democr. 30:5–19
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Roberts KM. 2012. Populism and democracy in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. See Mudde & Rovira Kaltwasser 2012a 136–59
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Rousseau S. 2010. Populism from above, populism from below: gender politics under Alberto Fujimori and Evo Morales. Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics K Kampwirth 140–61 University Park: Penn State Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Sadurski W. 2019. Poland's Constitutional Breakdown Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Scheppele KL. 2013. The rule of law and the Frankenstate: why governance checklists do not work. Governance 26:559–62
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Scheppele KL. 2018. Autocratic legalism. Univ. Chicago Law Rev. 85:545–83
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Taggart P. 2000. Populism Buckingham, UK: Open Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Tushnet M. 2017. The new “Bolivarian” constitutions: a textual analysis. Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America R Dixon, T Ginsburg 126–52 Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Tushnet M. 2019. Varieties of populism. Ger. Law J. 20:382–89
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Varol OO. 2015. Stealth authoritarianism. Iowa Law Rev 100:1673–742
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Varol OO, Pellegrina LD, Garoupa N 2017. An empirical analysis of judicial transformation in Turkey. Am. J. Comp. Law 65:187–216
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Versteeg M, Horley T, Meng A, Guim M, Guirguis M 2020. The law and politics of presidential term limit evasion. Columbia Law Rev 120:173–248
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Weyland K. 2001. Clarifying a contested concept: populism in the study of Latin American politics. Comp. Politics 34:1–22
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Whittemore ME. 2011. The problem of enforcing nature's rights under Ecuador's Constitution: why the 2008 environmental amendments have no bite. Pac. Rim Law Policy J. 20:660–91
    [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-041420-113519
Loading
  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error