DINO is nowhere near as popular as its Republican counterpart, but it’s a real insult (even if it’s not that insulting), differentiating it from more diagnostic labels like “Dixiecrat,” “Reagan Democrat,” or “Blue Dog Democrat” (that one’s still the worst). Unlike RINO, it usually applies to someone who’s insufficiently liberal or progressive—certainly not Bernie Sanders—but Hillary Clinton still ripped Sanders for not being a real Democrat in an interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush. Asked if Sanders “goes to sleep a Democrat,” here’s what Clinton said:
Well, I can’t answer that, Glenn, because he’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one. He’s running as one. So I don’t know quite how to characterize him. I’ll leave that to him. But I know there’s a big difference between Democrats and Republicans, and I know that Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama, you know, calling President Obama weak and disappointing.
Clinton has previously attacked Sanders for criticizing Obama in part to shore up her base with black voters, but here she’s doing something else as well: talking directly to loyal Democrats. Party loyalty isn’t the sexiest issue in the world—and I seriously doubt the efficacy of this attack because who cares—but the primaries taking place over the next three weeks are closed primaries, meaning only Democrats can vote in them. Sanders, who crushes Clinton with independents, has generally struggled in closed non-caucus contests. So Clinton, feeling Sanders nip at her heels, is going to throw the kitchen sink at him.