Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Liability for the Less Extreme Voter of an August Referendum on "English Only"

Reading this got me to thinking: an August monolinguistic referendum would definitely maximize rightwing mobilization of voters. The collateral damage would likely be the election of a whole new class of social conservatives to join the ones who will stay on the Metro Council. That probably whets the appetite of the Davidson County Republican Party, whose only chance in Metro politics is to script a critical mass of their more rabid supporters. If you thought this Council was combative, fanatical, and unrepresentative, just imagine the new one put in place by record numbers of intemperate voters outside of the broad middle, whipped up into an anti-foreigner froth, many of whom might not have voted the last time around or ever. An English Only referendum--and make no mistake, as Sean Braisted has already alluded, there will be no English First on the ballot--would be a single-issue lightning rod directing an ugly charge right through the city of Nashville. It's almost a doomsday scenario for any semblance of moderation in Metro politics.

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