How not to lose a referendum (or elect Donald Trump)

Good advice from Wolfgang Munchau in today’s FT.

Here’s a summary of his Five Rules:

  1. Do not rely on opinion polls

  2. Do not double down when you’ve lost. Come to terms with the fact that

    “an insurrection of sorts is under way against financial globalisation and its institutions.”

  3. Do not insult or provoke the voters.

    “After the Referendum, the losing side kept on pointing out that pro-Brexit supporters were older and on average less educated. Hillary Clinton’s infamous depiction of half of Mr Trump\s supporters as deplorable fits the same category. The more you insult the other side, the more you end up driving undecideds into their camp.”

  4. Beware of provocation e.g.

    “make sure that former European Commission presidents do not offer their lobbying services to large US investment banks, as just happened with José Manuel Barroso and Goldman Sachs.”

  5. Do not scare the voters.

    “Project Fear was a disaster in the UK. If your median voter’s income has stagnated for more than a decade, they are not going to be scared by the threat of a recession….The problem with scare stories is that they no longer work with unpredictable electorates. More often than not they are also not true or vastly exaggerated.”

Great stuff. I’ve lost track of the number of discussions I’ve been in since Brexit in which some or all of these five rules are routinely broken.