The Great RINO and DINO Hunt

Are the RINOs and DINOs really who we think they are?

For a hundred years, our major political parties have been represented by an elephant and a donkey.

These days, though, there are other beasts in the political jungle: RINOs and DINOs - Republican/Democrat In Name Only.  These beasts are machine politicians who have no actual convictions or even beliefs; they simply say and do whatever they think is necessary today to get elected tomorrow, and they don't worry a whit about how to actually govern the day after that.

Ever since the Reagan years, the Republican base has complained that their leaders don't truly believe or care about what the voters want.  The political record bears this out: for how many decades has the Republican platform called for outlawing abortion, reducing the size of government, and eliminating the Department of Education?  Yet none of this ever happens, and nobody seriously expects that it will.

The Democrats have similar problems on their side; most of the Democrat base wants to live in an America that is, basically, Germany: cradle-to-grave social-welfare state, national healthcare, centralized government-controlled universal free education through university, green  power, and an army that is useful only for the most local of national defense.  Needless to say, for all our complaints of creeping socialism, we are still very far from this.

Is Hillary likely to bring about a socialist, pacifist Utopia?  Not on your life - she even (shock) voted for the Iraq War!

Is Jeb Bush likely to "starve the beast" and slash the government?  Not a chance.  No more was John McCain, Bob Dole, or even George W. Bush, who went the opposite direction in creating the most Byzantine, uncoordinated, and ineffective agency of all, the Department of Homeland Security.

Every election season, the base declares that this time, they'll finally get a nominee who represents them, not the cigar-smoking denizens of elite clubs and backroom deals.  At every election in recent memory, they wind up voting for yet another establishment candidate because the other party's guy is the Devil Incarnate.

A lot of people thought Barack Obama was the exception, a genuine standard bearer of the far, far left.  From the perspective of conservatives, he's been by far the worst leftist we've ever had to endure, doing incalculable damage to American economic and security interests all over the world.

In the eyes of the true left Democrat core, however, Mr. Obama has accomplished nothing worthy of note.  He has not ended the drug war.  He has failed to create universal health care.  Blacks and Hispanics are still overwhelmingly overrepresented in our prisons and welfare system, the federal minimum wage hasn't changed, and illegal immigrants are still being deported.  We still have our military on bases all over the world, and even in combat here and there.  Mr. Obama hasn't even closed the Guantanamo terrorist prison as he promised!

This year, just possibly, the respective party bases may finally achieve their long-cherished goals - yes, both of them, in the very same election.

No serious American leftist can seriously oppose Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate.  In his home state of Vermont, he is technically not even a Democrat - he is proudly registered as a Socialist and espouses universal healthcare.  He may be a Senator, but he's hardly a mouthpiece for Democratic party elites.

On the Republican side, it's a little tougher because of Donald Trump's irreligious and irreverent nature.  However, much of his appeal comes from gleefully bashing establishment hypocrites and pointing out the decades of broken promises.  His track record of "getting stuff done" gives his supporters a hope they haven't had in years, of a leader who will in fact Do Something instead of just talk.

Only one of these two rather different men can win next November, or, of course, potentially neither.  In a sense, though, the truly interesting part of the election is the nomination race.  That's because, on both sides, the the nomination struggle is really a battle between the In Name Only party establishments vs the true believers who make up the majority of the base.

For lo these many years, every election season has been hunting season for RINOs and DINOs, and for lo these many years, the Elmer Fudds of the party base have brought home precious few pelts.  Maybe this year will be different.  Maybe the respective bases will nominate a candidate who actually agrees with them instead of pandering to get their votes.

If not, perhaps it's time to recognize that the names are reversed.  The Republican base considers their leaders to be RINOs, but (by definition) it is those leaders who hold Party membership cards and, in that sense, are the party.

It's the voting base that are truly Republicans In Name Only, because they don't subscribe to the go-along get-along center-liberal big-government Marquess of Queensberry beliefs of the party establishment.  The same is true on the side of the Dems: Code Pink, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter are the DINOs vs an establishment Hillary.

Once both sides realize this, we will shortly find out if you can have a party establishment with no voters, or a party with no establishment.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...