We’ve all read a great deal about RINOs. Whether the term is always accurately or judiciously applied, the acronym for Republicans in Name Only has become an oft-used one. Yet, I have never heard of DINOs, though I have met many of them in the past year.
Who are the Democrats in Name Only whose paths have crossed mine? They are more the mirror image rather than the counterparts of their Republican brethren. While the most basic definition of a RINO might be “a politician, pundit or establishment leader who frequently betrays conservatism and the conservative base,” the DINOs I know are in no way connected to the leadership of the Democrat Party. Instead, they are registered Democrats who ideologically side with the Tea Party more than they do with President Obama or Nancy Pelosi.
These voters reside in cities and or states that are painted a deep, relentless blue on the electoral map. Despite anomalies such as Republican Larry Hogan’s election as governor of Maryland, these citizens feel that their only chance to influence local elections is to vote in the Democrat primary. They reluctantly and somewhat embarrassedly register with that party, while consistently supporting Republicans and voting for them in November. That is, unless they are dispirited by the supremacy of RINOs in the Republican Party and consequently stay home.
Therein lies the rub. I have no idea how many DINOs exist across the country. I doubt that they rival soccer moms or immigrants in numbers. However, the more that Republican Party poobahs demand that the party lurch to the left because so many localities fall into the Democrat Party’s column, the less likely conservatives are to attract these voters’ enthusiasm and support.
Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. Even the most ardent RINO surely would admit that support for Mitt Romney was muted. One defining characteristic of a completely out-of-touch Republican today would be someone who thinks the antidote to Jeb Bush’s appalling poll numbers is to recruit Mr. Romney to the race.
DINOs have relatives, friends and co-workers whose insurance premiums have skyrocketed as their choices of doctors has shrunk, who are disgusted with the Iran deal and the inability of President Obama to acknowledge Islamic terrorism, who think that allowing sixteen-year-old high school boys to declare themselves female and shower with the girls is outrageous. They can’t imagine themselves as anything but Democrat, but many of them even believe that increased gun control is an idea that only those who can afford personal, armed security guards should love. These friends, relatives and co-workers could vote for the Republican candidate in 2016. They could be encouraged to do so by DINOs who are excited about the race. DINO excitement is predicated on a candidate who actually believes in, articulates and is proud of conservative principles. A candidate who will not shrink from attacking the Democrat candidate and who won’t be embarrassed by the Republican base. What a shame if the underground presence of these DINOs contributes to nominating someone in the image of John McCain or Mitt Romney, men whose personalities and candidacies depress conservative eagerness and suppress conservative willingness to openly and vocally support the Republican nominee.