The two main political parties in the UK are the Liberal Democrats and the Democratic Party. However, there is a considerable difference between the parties in terms of their political philosophy and the way they approach issues such as taxation, immigration, welfare and human rights.
‘Liberal’ (or ‘liberalism’) is a broad term covering a variety of political views that generally centre on individual freedoms and the right of the people to live free from government interference, including censorship and surveillance. It is usually divided into ‘classical liberals’ (especially in Europe) who emphasise economic liberty without any regulations or taxes, and’social liberals’ who place more emphasis on state intervention to improve the social conditions of the people who need it most.
Many Liberal Democrats are supporters of a mix of classical liberalism and social liberal principles, which in the UK include: Constitutional reform, internationalism, furthering welfare spending and promotion of individual liberties such as the right to abortion. Lib Dems also have an anti-corruption policy and are against government involvement in personal affairs such as sexuality and drug use.
Partisan polarization is often the dominant condition of American politics, and it has increasingly blurred the distinction between the left and right. But a senior columnist for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, University of Virginia professor Alan Abramowitz, said his research shows that in recent years, liberal identification among self-identified Democrats has increased significantly.
The shift has been especially pronounced among white Democrats, who have increased their liberal identification by 37 percentage points since 1994. But black and Hispanic Democrats have seen their liberal identification rise less than 20 points over the same period.