The day after the drills referendum opens the actual electoral campaign, the one for the mother of all battles: the constitutional referendum that will take place in October. A difficult campaign, no holds barred according to the American model. Or American model in Rome. Renzi’s enemies have already changed their name from ‘jinxes’ to ‘haters’. Those who according to Renzi’s version hate Matteo Renzi are: starting with the 16 million Italians who went to vote on April 17, despite the instructions of the Italian Prime Minister and those of the Chairman Emeritus (who does not even think about the turn-over).
The American in Rome is called Jim Messina, former spin doctor and campaign manager of the US President, Obama, and of the British Prime Minister, Cameron, who has been just hired by Palazzo Chigi for the modest sum of 100 thousand euros. Jinxes’ upgrade to haters might be his idea. As if all those who went to the polls had not done so to legitimately subtract our sea from the clutches of oil companies and their lobbyists, but to tease Renzi (and perhaps also to Napolitano).
As the old proverbs go, “Many enemies – much honor” or “either with us or against us”, which from Mussolini’s version transforms into Renzi’s “Against Me.” Also because Renzi himself defined the Boschi reforms referendum as a consultation on his own person and on his government.
Yet, the polarization of the conflict, a recurrent pattern in Renzi’s actions, might turn out to be a dramatic own goal. First of all because it brings together the whole opposition on a neat election round of voting, which will not be boycotted neither by information, nor by the highest offices of the State. Moreover, this time Renzi and Napolitano themselves will remind us the importance of voting in a democracy. Especially because the outcome of the constitutional referendum is not so obvious as that of the drills referendum.
Not to mention the ugliness of a reform approved by several confidence votes one after another, which transforms the Senate into a recreational club for councilors appointed by the parties. In October there will be no quorum. The constitutional referendum does not necessarily have to exceed 50 percent of the eligible to vote, as it happens during the abrogative referendum: the result will be valid even if only a handful of people votes. But there will be at least 16 million voters, 13.3% of whom will vote against (exactly the number of anti-drills Yes votes). It will be very difficult for the government to reach this starting point. On April 17 it did not win 70 to 30, as Renzi has it. Because that 70 percent are not his votes, but abstentions: the true majority party of the country, that of non-voters, is well over 40 percent and does not look like it is going to decrease.
Thus, those 16 million people are close to 50% of the voters at the last general elections of 2013, those of the “no win” of Bersani’s Democratic Party, who still took 25% with 8.6 million votes. When the party had not yet been split by the Renzi phenomenon, which replaced its slogans from the time of the Italian Resistance movement with mocking twitters. Actually, nobody truly know the number of Renzi’s voters, not even the Prime Minister himself. Simply because Italians have never voted for or against his government.