Commentary: It Is Time to Break Up Nashville

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by Judson Phillips


The most charitable thing anyone can say about Nashville right now is that the city is a dumpster fire.  It isn’t just a small dumpster fire. It is a stinking, raging fire that is going to get out of hand if nothing is done about it.

Part of Nashville’s problems are not its own doing. No one could control the tornado that struck Nashville in March and no one could see, at least initially, what would happen with the COVID-19 outbreak.

But most of Nashville’s problems are self-inflicted.  Nashville is a city controlled by the Democrat Party. It always has been.  And their policies have all but destroyed the city financially.

Last year, Forbes announced that Nashville was in receivership.  That shocked a lot of people. Technically, it wasn’t true, as the state did approve Nashville’s budget, but Comptroller Justin Wilson told Nashville to get its house in order.

The problem is, Nashville is not getting its house in order. It is doing literally everything it can to destroy the economy of the city and the taxpayers of Tennessee will be left with the bill.

As the state began to open up, after the ill-advised shutdown, Nashville, under Mayor John Cooper, said wait.  Instead of reopening the economy, his administration continued to push draconian measures that served only to continue to destroy Nashville businesses.  When Tennesseans rallied in front of the state capitol, demanding state and local restrictions be lifted, Cooper was horrified.

Then suddenly the Black Lives Matter movement showed.  Cooper had no problem with the riots and the looting downtown. He had no problems with marchers showing up and occupying Lower Broadway, even as the businesses there were begging that there be no more marches there, so the businesses could reopen.

While Nashville’s Mayor does nothing to help businesses in the famed entertainment district, the Metro Health Department was out issuing citations to businesses, just trying to survive.

And of course, while the Mayor was strangling businesses through his executive fiat, he was also proposing a 32% tax hike on those same businesses and residents of Nashville.

Nashville is going to go bankrupt sooner or later. Decades of mismanagement have come to a head now in 2020.  Ultimately the state will have to intervene and probably pay some of Nashville’s bills.  But the state needs to intervene now and put an end to the mismanagement in Nashville.

There is only one way to do that.

Break Nashville up into a dozen small cities.

Mayor Cooper doesn’t want to support the businesses suffering right now because they are not his constituency.  The rioters are.  If Nashville were broken up into small cities, those businesses would be receiving help. They would be allowed to re-open and they would receive police protection to help them stay open.

If Nashville were a dozen small cities, the financial mismanagement would be sharply reduced.  Most of those small cities would be much better run. A couple of them would still be dumpster fires but at least the damage from that would be much more manageable. Each small city would have its own leadership and budget, and each would be more manageable.

There must be some penalty for bad leadership.  If the status quo remains, Nashville will go into receivership and the people who have spent decades wrecking Nashville’s economy will remain in the driver’s seat.

That is unacceptable.

–  –  –

Judson Phillips is a long time conservative pundit and founder of Tea Party Nation.
Photo “New Down in Nashville” by Derrick Brutel CC2.0.






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18 Thoughts to “Commentary: It Is Time to Break Up Nashville”

  1. Karen Kirkpatrick

    I was born and raised in Nashville and I moved away eleven years ago. My family that is still there say I wouldn’t recognize it and that I would be very unhappy about how things have turned out. After reading this and many other articles about what’s going on (I keep up with things), I am so saddened by it all, and so glad I moved away. I miss the old Nashville, back when it WAS several different townships. It’s kind of funny how when it was run by Republicans, things were working out pretty well and taxes weren’t onerous. I’m sorry y’all are going through this. Good luck draining your swamp.

  2. lb

    ATL had this happen–the City Govt went down the road of oppressive business situations, SJW City Policy and Crime out of control. We left (we lived in middle of ATL in Va Highlands) our Taxes went thru the ROOF and there was an opportunity to come to Nashville (where my husband grew up). We saw this coming down the road in 2008 when Nashville decided it had to grow/grow/grow at the expense of it’s History and Middle Class. It was like watching the same movie all over again esp when they kept electing “progressives” like the felonious tramp mayoress. But ATL actually had a VERY motivated Conservative Middle Class left and they went right to the State petitioning and getting a Vote to SPLIT ATL. The more Conservative/Monied areas are now NEW Cities and very successful.
    Until Nashville and Davidson split, it is going to continue to be an issue. Bellevue, Belle Meade,etc could become their own Cities. Donelson could split out too and leave the Nashville area just Dwtwn/12thS/Antioch etc and see how that works out.
    Until then ,WE left Davidson and moved 1 mile outside the City Limits into Sumner Co. Our Taxes are now 1/4 of what they were! We have FULL City Services and are close to everything–best decision we made!

  3. David

    “Ultimately the state will have to intervene and probably pay some of Nashville’s bills.” Why?

    1. Vivian

      They what I WHY, they got in this mess and we need to get out of now and let Nashville have it.

  4. Dwayne Oxford

    It all began long ago with EFFECTIVE consequences being decreed “cruel and unusual”.
    We’re now to the point of near zero effective consequences for wrongdoing.

    1. I have never heard it said so well. We do need to brake up the city. How will we do that will it have to be on the Ballot???

  5. Donald Sensing

    I was born and raised in Nashville, living there until I went to college. Today I live one county north. There has been an exodus from the city going on for a long time. In my neighborhood, with only one more house to go to be built out, the number of people who moved here from Nashville has been easily 80-percent plus. One retired couple told my wife and me that they moved here from only 10 miles away – but it got them out of Davidson County-Nashville, and that’s all they wanted. It is not “white flight,” either – my neighborhood is multi-racial (though not heavily so) and all the non-whites moved here from Nashville.

    With Covid, the exodus will likely intensify as people realize more and more that population density is the real killer. Not all Davidson County is densely populated, but the urban part of it will almost certainly see declines in population starting, well, now. That the city wants to implement a 32 percent hike in property taxes will only accelerate it (and hence accelerate rather than solve Nashville’s money woes).

    For those reading, Nashville’s and the county’s government have been fully unified since the early 1960s. To escape “Metro,” as the government is nicknamed, you have to leave the whole county, not just the city part of it.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Donald – Unfortunately you will learn that many of those fleeing the slum called Nashville will bring their culture of failure with them. You would be better off with them staying put and leaving you alone. All one has to do to recognize this is to look at the actions of the Sumner County Commission and School District over the last 10 years. Both have gone down the toilet of spend, spend, spend with no real benefit achieved. I live in Sumner County. My property taxes have increased over 50% in the last 6 years.

  6. Sim

    I live in East Tennesse, “WHY” should any of my tax dollars bailout a city of “Idiot Democrats” in Nashville???

    Let the people lose their pensions, let the potholes get so big you need a road map to get out of one, let the city reflect the ignorance of the people voting and running it.

    The problem now is that everybody expects a bailout by “SOMEBODY ELSE”.

    It’s time the “PEOPLE” suffer the consequences of their “VOTES” for Representatives in Government and stop trying to make others pay for their stupidity.

  7. Dianna

    Great story on how democratic leaders lead. They zoom in and destroy under the guise of helping great wrongs in society but they are the attackers. They help no one but their own pocket’s. They do nothing but rule by chaos. I was raised in Madison and it has gone from a great community and now it it not.

  8. Wolf Woman

    This is an interesting idea. Nashville has grown so large that it’s hard to keep up with what is happening in the city overall, while I do know what is going on in my district and what my unresponsive progressive Council member does. We already have Berry Hill and BelleMeade as examples.

    The real problem with Nashville is the proliferation of socialist and communist groups like Liberation Road and the Middle TN Democrat Socialist party, Antifa, Tennessee Organizing for Power, Gideon’s Army, etc., who have trained activists and “useful fool” sheeple who follow their lead.

    Metro Council Member for East Nashville District 5, Sean Parker is co-founder of the Middle Tennessee Democrat Socialist party. Another progressive Council member (District 17) is Colby Sledge. They are all for the destruction of the Nashville economy in a misguided effort to establish a utopia on the Cumberland. They, and their fellow travelers, want to kill the golden goose and they will, if not stopped.

  9. Jack Dobson

    Certainly Metropolitan Government is long past its use-by date.

    The first step should be severing the General Services District from the Urban Services District and allowing the former to revert to a county government. It would be better for both sectors.

    1. Betty J. Ziesel


  10. Rick

    Great commentary !

  11. CCW

    Interesting suggestion. To which, I would like to add: Move the seat of state goverment to Rutherford County and the metropolis of Smyrna. People of the state would soon lose interest in Nashville and Davidson County. We would not feel, as we currently do, that Nashville is extorting support from the people of the state just because they are the seat of state operations. Of course this would depend on the people of Smyrna welcoming the influx of state government operations into their city and county.

    1. Kevin

      CCW – Great idea, but how about this…we put the whole kit and caboodle, all government, on a train, move it around the area that it’s responsible for every week or two, and then call it what it really is, a 3-ring circus!

      Until “We the People” start forcing the reduction in the size and scope of all layers of the government, at all levels, we are going to be the oppressed.

  12. Julie

    I am seeing on the local news this morning that businesses in the lower broadway area were fined over the weekend for not following the guidelines imposed by Mayor Cooper. I have no doubt that Nashvillians will continue to vote for the Democrats who are never held accountable. When is the last time you heard a Democrat criticized or pushed to explain anything by our local news media?

  13. Mike Johnson

    Great idea…Now let’s get it done. The Democrat/left/socialist/communist/marxists must go!