RINOs, DINOs, and "The Choice Between Normal and Crazy"

Published on 21 February 2023 at 10:08

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the acronym “RINO”: “Republicans in name only.” In Donald Trump’s over-use of it, it means any Republican who opposes or disagrees with Donald Trump. For the sake of this essay, let me coin the opposite acronym (though I can’t imagine who would currently use it): “DINO,” or “Democrats in name only.”

If I were a Republican or a Democrat politician, I would consider it to be the greatest compliment possible! It would mean that I am flexible and intelligent, and able to actually “work across the aisle” like so many politicians brag (but few deliver). Working across the aisle in its truest sense means that you are able to craft a workable compromise with the other side (something the Parties clearly do not stand for); isn’t that what America stands for? Isn’t that what we need? While they can seem frustrating, I applaud those politicians who successfully buck their Party and vote with their conscience.

My moderate position would mean that, while I am dedicated to the cause of the Party (which you have to be to get elected and/or re-elected), I am able to see the other side and sympathize with their view as well. It would mean that I actively work toward bringing the two sides (and their constituents) together “for the common good.” It would mean that unity means more to me than division. I would thus embody what an actual “patriotic American” should be. In other words, I do not have what it takes to be a politician; no Party would have me, even if I was “qualified!”

It is those rare politicians who have been able to stay in the middle that have kept America together. If we allowed one Party or the other to ride herd, the herd (us!) would soon be run off a cliff! We need both parties—preferably working together and hashing out compromises—to keep us as close to the center as possible. That duality is what has always made America actually “great”: we have a very diverse citizenry, and no one Party or politician can possibly please everybody. Our two-party system will never be perfect, but name another Country that has walked that tightrope as well as we have, given our diversity. Comparison with Countries that are not as large and diverse is comparing apples to oranges. America IS great!

But we are currently stuck in the position of having to balance radically-opposing interests who consider the other side—their fellow Americans—to be “evil.” This is simply because there are currently more radicals in positions of power. Our system of course allows that to work, but it is a lot harder than it has to be; if those radical politicians had any sense of “fair play” (and a grasp of the concept of “fellow American”) they would realize that they can’t always have their way, and they would work toward the center. As it is, if they don’t get the Party’s way, they throw a tantrum and claim that they are “at war with evil.”

I am quite convinced that there are foreign agents out there, actively stirring up hatred among us via propaganda (social-media) and trying to cause us to spin out of control via the outsize influence of our elected officials. I believe they are also helping radicals get a foothold in government—not exactly the best place for them. If it’s just everyday Americans doing that, shame on them! What right does anyone have to demand that everyone should think the same, and then call them “un-American” if they don’t?

I don’t see Americans as being “50/50”: I see us as being roughly “33/33/33.” 33% true Republicans (who will always side with the Right, no matter what), 33% true Democrats (who will always side with the Left, no matter what), and 33% RINO/DINO (or simply unaffiliated), able to go either direction as the need arises (aka “swing voters”). The Party who wins over the biggest chuck of the middle wins the race. Moderates should rule the overall narrative and guide Democracy “down the middle”; actually, we DO rule it of course, seeing that the extremes have to moderate their position to win us to their side. A radical minority will never get there by themselves, as demonstrated in the 2022 midterms.

I am solidly in the middle but have tended Left lately, driven by the currently-radical position of the Right, as embodied by Trumpism and Christian Nationalism. Take them out of the mix (minimize their voices to be commensurate with their actual numbers), and I may go slightly Right again, where I have been most of my life; who knows? Regardless, I will never be more than a RINO or DINO; I will never join one Party or the other.

To me, the “choice between normal and crazy” means a choice between a moderate RINO/DINO position (“normal”) or a radical, far-Right/Left position (“crazy”). Want to win over the middle? Stop being so damn crazy! So, in that sense, I agree totally with Gov. Sanders. There IS a choice to make; just not the kind she was referring to.


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