The last three years have been a testing period for democracy in the United States and United Kingdom. Since the Brexit campaign in the UK and Donald Trump's emergence in US politics in 2016, populism surged in at the centre of mainstream politics.
An embittered democracy in the UK and US, with all its institutions, however, has so far been capable of subduing the surge of populism. Instead of giving an easy pass to the populist leaders or the mandates manufactured by populist agendas, the institutions of democracy have begun to take charge of the affairs.
With Brexit drowning in an ever escalating uncertainty in the UK, the British Parliament and the Supreme Court have emerged as shield for democratic values complicating the agenda of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the poster children of Brexit and populist politics in Britain.
The UK PM Boris Johnson unprecedentedly lost all six parliamentary votes in just six days before shutting down the Parliament for five weeks in a bid to escape MPs' resistance against a 'No Deal' Brexit by October 31.
The prorogation of the Parliament emerged as a blow against the British democracy to such an extent that Johnson's partner in Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum, Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, called it the "worst political decision ever" and demanded for the resignation of Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Johnson, however, couldn't get away with the prorogation of the Parliament as the British Supreme Court found out that "This was not a normal prorogation. It prevented parliament from carrying out its constitutional role." The British
Supreme Court announced the suspension of parliament as "unlawful, void and to no effect."
Apparently elated at the court verdict, Nicholas Reed Langen, a British political analyst, found the British Parliament and Supreme Court as "the vanguard of resistance to populism" and showered the verdict with praises that "rather than yielding to some concocted will of the people," these institutions have emphasised that some principles are beyond majoritarian whims."
The days of extraordinary crisis unfolded in the British Parliament gradually exposed the empty vessel of Brexit promises made by the Leave campaigners naked. This row over Brexit in Britain revealed how populist politicians mislead the public perception for the interest of their own political career.
On this note, former British PM David Cameron alleged in his memoir published on the Sunday Times that Boris Johnson campaigned for Leave "because it would help his political career".
The Brexit campaign and referendum in the first half of 2016 probably had a lot to do with the US presidential election in November that year. The surge of right wing populism in the United Kingdom hit the United States, and subsequently it gathered unprecedented momentum in the west.
President Donald Trump, then Republican candidate for the presidential election in the US, welcomed the Brexit result and went ahead with further right wing populist agenda to win the election.
Following the US and UK giving in to the populism at the similar timeframe, the west witnessed a decline of democratic values with the rise of populist leaders in the political landscape.
But the democratic institutions of the United States, like that of United Kingdom, fought back Donald Trump and his right wing administration's populist agendas.
There are many allegations against the western media; especially the way it manufactures world consent for the US agenda. But as far as its fights against Donald Trump is concerned, the US media has truly worked as the fourth pillar of the state with its continuous reporting and pressure mechanism all these years.
The resistance against Trump within the democratic institutions of the US began in the US media which President Trump despises as 'fake news' and gradually encompassed the Supreme Court and finally in the US Congress after the Democrats recovered majority in the House in the last midterm election.
Donald Trump now faces an impeachment attempt initiated by the House of Representatives.
Populism as a political movement, however, didn't begin with the last presidential election in the United States or the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom; and it will not end with the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump or removal of Brexit poster child Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister.
But the way institutionalism in the democratic institutions in these countries along with the professionalism of the public officials contributed in subduing populism set an example of how functional democracies challenge populism.
In pursuit of triumphing over populism, Jody Corcoran has two suggestions as he writes in The Independent, "Capitalism must renew its purpose other than to further enrich the wealthy; and agreed regulation must be brought to bear on the internet."