The terms liberal and Democrat are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms are distinct and can have different meanings. Liberal refers to a political ideology that emphasizes individual liberty and government intervention to address inequality, while Democrat refers to members of the Democratic Party in the United States.
The Democrat Party’s philosophy of modern liberalism focuses on promoting economic and social equality through welfare base state policies such as universal healthcare, affordable college education, and consumer protection laws. Moreover, Democrat candidates often endorse progressive social issues such as equal rights for gay couples or the right to abortion while remaining fiscally conservative in their policy proposals such as lower taxes and reducing federal spending.
Interestingly, participants identified as liberals in our study were more consistent in their ideological identification than Republican voters on most political issues. This is largely due to the fact that Democrats are more unified as a party in their liberal beliefs while Republicans are more diverse in their ideologies.
Despite this, it is important to note that not all individuals who identify as Democrats are liberals and not all individuals who identify as liberals belong to the Democratic Party. In fact, some individuals who identify as Democrat may have moderate or conservative views on certain social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion but still align with the Democratic Party on other economic policy issues like raising the minimum wage and increasing environmental regulations. Additionally, some third-party candidates such as the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, support a mix of progressive and libertarian-leaning ideas that do not fit neatly into either Democrat or Republican categories.