For the moment the EU needs to work as best it can with the cumbersome procedure at its disposal, under Article 7 of the EU treaty that still gives it some bargaining power over governments gone astray. But it should not overestimate how well these measures will work. The union also needs to make smart and well-placed bets on domestic politics, where the fate of Polish and Hungarian democracy will ultimately be settled. It should also do more than simply cheer on liberal forces. It should look to how and where the modern, moderate social conservatism necessary to form the other half of any functional democracy could emerge in place of illiberal populists. Here, it would do well to listen to the lawyers and the economists, but also to the anthropologists and sociologists, who see the litmus test of democracy as rooted in day-to-day life and day-to-day politics, not just in what’s been put down on paper.