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A DINO — or Democrat In Name Only — is a disparaging term that refers to a Democratic candidate whose political views are seen as insufficiently conforming to the party line.

It’s used in American politics to describe a member of the Democratic Party whose political views or actions are considered too conservative or not aligning sufficiently with the party’s platform or with the views of the party’s core members.

The term is often used pejoratively and indicates a criticism of the individual’s political alignment as not being “truly” or “fully” Democratic.

The concept of a DINO arises from the broad range of ideological beliefs that can exist within a single political party.

In the United States, both of the major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, encompass a spectrum of views on various issues, from economic policy to social issues.

A person might identify as a member of a party but hold views on certain key issues that are more commonly associated with the other party.

When these deviations are significant or numerous, other members of the party might label the person a DINO (or, in the case of the Republican Party, a RINO – Republican In Name Only).

For example, a Democratic politician who supports policies typically associated with Republicans, such as lower taxes for the wealthy, reduced regulation of business, or conservative social policies, might be labeled a DINO.

The term could also be applied to a Democratic politician who frequently votes with Republicans or otherwise acts in a way that is perceived as supporting the Republican Party more than the Democratic Party.

Former Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) was the perfect example of a DINO. He was a registered Democrat and caucused with the party in the Senate but delivered the keynote address of the 2004 Republican convention where he attacked Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), his own party’s presidential nominee.

Use of “DINO” in a sentence:

  • Some party purists criticized the senator as a DINO due to his stance on gun control, which was more conservative than the party’s official platform.
  • During the primary elections, the candidate was accused of being a DINO, with critics arguing that her fiscal policies aligned more with those of the Republican party.
  • Despite being labeled as a DINO by some, the congressman managed to secure a win in a typically conservative district, suggesting his moderate views appealed to a broader range of voters.