The term “liberal” is often used synonymously with the Democratic Party. However, it’s important to understand that liberalism is a political philosophy and the Democratic Party is just one of the two major political parties in America.
Liberals believe that government should intervene in economic matters to promote social justice and equality and protect the environment. They also support civil rights for minorities, a safety net for the poor, and other social welfare programs funded by taxation. Generally, liberals are supportive of environmental protection programs and gun control, and they oppose abortion, higher minimum wages, and restrictions on free speech and religion.
Historically, the Democratic Party has held on to some classical liberalist ideals. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition introduced social-liberal platforms promoting social justice. But today, the Democratic Party is largely a centrist party, and most Democrats don’t identify as being particularly liberal or conservative.
As a result, Democratic-aligned groups are far more divided when it comes to opinions about the size of government. A majority of Progressive Left members say they favor greatly expanding government services, whereas only a third of Democratic Mainstays agree.
Despite their wide ideological divides, these three Democratic-aligned groups are all committed to the party’s central mission of promoting social justice and economic equality. This is an important fact to keep in mind as the Democratic Party continues its gradual shift to the left. It’s worth remembering, too, that the Republican Party is moving much more quickly to the right than the Democratic Party is to the left.