Against Instantaneous Democracy

International Journal of Constitutional Law (Forthcoming)

30 Pages Posted: 27 May 2018

See all articles by Ming-Sung Kuo

Ming-Sung Kuo

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: May 27, 2018


In this article, I aim to shed new light on the state of populism by looking beyond the substance of recent populist movements to examine their form. I argue that new populism, which is characterized by instantaneousness and simultaneity made possible by social media and other communications technologies, betrays a pathology of instantaneous democracy in its pursuit of unmediated politics at the expense of democratic representation and deliberation. To show how new populism poses a fundamental challenge to constitutional democracy, I first bring the unnoticed double structure of articulated politics at the heart of constitutional democracy to the fore: the structural articulation of distinct stages of decisionmaking in the multistage process of constitutional governance and that of formal constitutionalized powers and unformed public opinions. As the double structural articulation assumes a temporal gap, first, between each stage of formal decisionmaking, and, second, between opinion-formation and policymaking, I then discuss how this assumed temporal gap is being virtually obliterated amidst the wave of new populism, shaking the structure of articulated politics to its foundations. In response, I suggest that democratic learning, aided by tactics of judicial deceleration before the figuring out of a grand strategy, is critical in combating new populism.

Keywords: instantaneous democracy, social media, articulated politics, double structure of articulation, new populism, authenticity, unmediated politics, judicial deceleration, political representation, democratic learning, epistemic democracy, separation of powers, judicial review, public opinion

Suggested Citation

Kuo, Ming-Sung, Against Instantaneous Democracy (May 27, 2018). International Journal of Constitutional Law (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN:

Ming-Sung Kuo (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom


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