Those who identify as liberals are open to progress and tend to believe the government should solve problems. They are often part of minority groups seeking social changes. Conservatives, on the other hand, are typically members of dominant groups and argue that sticking to tradition slows down society and impedes development.
Liberalism is a political philosophy that supports individual freedom, free trade and civil rights. It also believes the government should play a role in ensuring economic equality.
The Democratic Party is one of the two main political parties in America along with the Republican Party. It was founded in 1828 making it the oldest active political party anywhere in the world. It has changed its platform over time, but the core beliefs of a Democratic voter still align with liberal ideology.
Democrats largely share liberal views on social issues like affirmative action, gun control and abortion. However, they differ on some key issues such as international involvement, taxes and climate change. For example, while the vast majority of liberals believe that promoting and protecting human rights abroad is a vital foreign policy goal, the same is not true for all moderate and conservative Democrats.
There is a strong correlation between ideological self-identification and voting behavior. Those who say they are liberal overwhelmingly vote for Democrats while those who describe themselves as conservative gravitate toward Republicans. As the percentage of Democrats with consistently liberal views has grown, those with consistent conservative views have declined, creating an increasingly polarized party.