The key chosen in this paper to read the book Breve storia della democrazia, by Leonardo Marchettoni, is the overestimation of democracy, in three senses. In the first sense, the label ‘democracy’ is today applied indifferently to liberal democracies, illiberal democracies and even to so called popular democracies. In the second sense, the label also applies to populist democracies, according to Marchettoni characterized by the loss of the link between democracy and truth. In the third sense, finally, the label itself and the democratic magic words (sovereignty of people, constituent power, representation) are caricaturated by populism, with its defining traits: appeal to the people, demonization of elites, direct, or dis-intermediated representation.
Keywords: Democracy, populism, truth.