Against Instantaneous Democracy

In this paper, I take a formal approach to recent populist movements, aiming to make a prognosis of a new strain of populism.  I argue that new populism emerges from the communications technology-driven pursuit for unmediated politics, betraying a pathology of instantaneous democracy.  As constitutional democracy is premised on a double structure of articulated politics—constitutional decisionmaking as a multistage process with individual stages articulated to each other; the structural articulation of the formal constitutionalized powers and the unformed public opinions—which assumes a temporal gap, first, between each stage of formal decisionmaking, and, second, between public opinions and policies, this assumed temporal gap is virtually obliterated amidst the wave of new populism.  As a result, democracy becomes instantaneous at the expense of representation and deliberation.  This is the fundamental challenge posed by new populism.  In conclusion, I suggest that regenerating the learning function of democracy by deceleration is critical in combating new populism.