Liberal vs Democrat
A Democratic identifies with the Philosophy of Modern Liberalism, which promotes social equality. They believe that the government should play a role in upholding economic justice by enacting a welfare state and providing social programs, as well as imposing regulations to protect consumers, workers, and the environment. Democrat policies also include supporting civil rights, progressive taxation, and organized labor.
While Democrats may be left-leaning on social issues, they are typically more centrist when it comes to their stance on economic issues. They are more likely to support the right of gay marriage and women’s right to abortion, and less likely to be pro-military or pro-gun control.
During the course of our research, we have discovered that the political definition of a Democrat can vary significantly depending on the era of history and even election cycle. For instance, during the 19th century, the Democratic party supported or tolerated slavery and opposed civil rights reforms following the American Civil War in order to maintain the support of white southern voters.
As time passes, however, the Democratic party has moved further away from its roots and toward a more center-left ideology. During the past three decades, we have observed that Democrats in general are becoming more liberal and that the share of Democratic moderates has declined relative to their Republican counterparts. This trend continues today, with the largest Democratic-oriented typology group—Democrat Mainstays—becoming increasingly liberal while Outsider Left skews more moderate on certain issues.