Purging DINOs and RINOs is a bad idea

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Elements in both parties are trying to purge what they call DINOs (“Democrats in name only”) and RINOs (“Republicans in name only”).

The star DINO is West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. The progressive-left despises him for opposing plans to spend trillions of dollars on new federal programs. They want to rid the Democratic Party of politicians like him who don’t follow the new party line. Democratic critics blame Manchin alone for derailing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill. That’s not quite true. Manchin and 50 Republican senators derailed the bill. The senator's critics are forgetting that 50+1 equals a majority. 

Even though Manchin did not run for the Senate on a progressive left agenda, outraged Democrats on the progressive left label him a traitor to the cause. They forget that it's their cause, not Manchin’s or West Virginia’s.

We should remember that Manchin was elected from a deep red state. A former governor who was personally popular, he literally was the only Democrat who could have won a Senate seat in a state that Donald Trump carried by 39 points. Do you think Elizabeth Warren could get elected in West Virginia?

Democrats now have 50 Senate seats, plus the Vice President who can break a tie. They owe this no-room-to-spare majority to each and every Democrat in the Senate, including Manchin. If Manchin was not there, a Republican would surely occupy his seat — giving the GOP control of the Senate and burying the entire progressive-left agenda.

While critics say Manchin has no right to vote any way he wants on the multitrillion-dollar spending bill, they don’t explain why the other 99 senators have a right to vote any way they want. And although Manchin opposes key elements of the Democratic agenda, he’s provided crucial support for Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill and the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The life of a DINO is unfair.

So is also the life of a RINO.

Dick Cheney was a tough conservative during his years in Congress and as vice president. He supported budget cuts, gun rights, and all sorts of military actions. His daughter, Liz, won election to Congress from Wyoming as a conservative. And in office, she’s voted like one. As a House member, Liz Cheney supported President Donald Trump’s agenda 93% of the time. Ironically, she voted with Trump on more votes than did Trump’s future chief of staff Mark Meadows when he served in the House.

But in January of 2021, Cheney committed a mortal sin that had nothing to do with conservative policy. She voted to impeach Trump for his actions related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol. For that, she was ousted as House Republican Conference chairwoman by her GOP colleagues and was censured by the Wyoming state party. Overnight, Cheney became a RINO. Her independence was not rewarded for its courage, but castigated for its audacity.

DINOs and RINOs don’t get much respect, but let’s get something straight: Neither party can win without them.  Independent-minded voters are often cross-pressured by a range of conflicting issues and candidate qualities. They are not led by their noses down the same trodden paths. 

In elections, DINO and RINO voters actually do stick with their parties much of the time, although they think before they vote. They stray if their side slides off the rails. Their vote is sometimes uncertain until the last days of an election.  But one thing is certain: if Republicans want a conservative governing majority, and if Democrats want a progressive one, as they both have a right to want, they need to win close elections in swing states and districts with the help of independent-minded voters.

Biden’s vote totals would have fallen below Trump’s in every close state without support from DINOs. Without RINOs, the Republican Party won’t be able to take back Congress or the White House­­.

The party that understands these truths will run the table.

Ron Faucheux is a nonpartisan political analyst and publisher of LunchtimePolitics.com, a newsletter on polls.

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