Lessons From the Italian Referendum, my first article for C&E Europe
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italy’s former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made the same mistake: they personalized the respective referendum campaigns they presided over, and as a result they lost.
It’s worth noting that Cameron and Renzi had the same advisor: Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager.
A core lesson from both campaigns: electoral campaigns and referendum campaigns are not the same. When running a referendum there are three rules to follow: 1) Referendum campaigns are about issues, not individuals 2) They are won when you can appeal to everyday issues, and 3) Get to the point and simplify.
The Italian referendum was about complex constitutional reform, but it became a referendum on Renzi…