A “gypsy moth Republican” is a pejorative term used by conservative Republicans to describe a moderate members of their party who represent a Northeastern or Midwestern urban part of the United States — an area that is also the habitat for the invasive Gypsy moth, which damages trees.
The implication is that these types of Republicans damage the Republican Party by occasionally siding with Democrats.
Origin of “Gypsy Moth Republican”
The term was coined by Rep. Lawrence DeNardis (R-CT) as a counter to the “boll weevil Democrats” of the Southern states.
Rep. Carl Pursell (R-MI) was also often described as the quintessential gypsy moth Republican in the 1980s.
It has been used infrequently used since the early 1980s, often replaced by “Rockefeller Republican” and “Republican In Name Only,” or RINO for short.
Use of “Gypsy Moth Republican” in a sentence
New York Times (July 26, 1991): “The emergence of these Frost Belt Republicans, who have been nicknamed the ‘gypsy moths,’ reflects a rise of regional loyalties on Capitol Hill that often reach across party lines.”
CT Mirror (September 26, 2017): “Anderson himself grew up on Newhall Street in Hamden, attended Hamden High and UConn. He ran ‘Gypsy Moth‘ Republican Larry DeNardis’s successful race for the Third District seat in 1980.