When people discuss political ideologies, they often use the terms liberal and democrat interchangeably. However, these two terms have distinct meanings. A liberal is someone who is open to different viewpoints, and a democrat is a member of a political party that supports progressive policies and government intervention in social and economic issues.
In general, a democrat believes that government should support social welfare programs and provide a wide range of public services, such as education, health care, and housing. They also believe that government should promote equality and protect the environment. They are more likely to support labor unions and environmental regulations than Republicans.
Historically, the Democratic Party has roots in classical liberalism and populism (the idea that royal overreach oppresses the virtuous), and Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal coalition introduced social-liberal platforms promoting social justice. However, the party today is primarily a left-leaning organization with a small percentage of conservative Democrats.
The sharp leftward movement among Democratic voters has some political observers suggesting that there could be a growing racial divide in party political ideology. Nonwhite voters now make up 43% of Democratic voters, and they have traditionally been less likely than white Democrats to self-identify as liberal.
Aside from the differences in social policy, a major difference between liberals and democrats is their view on how the government should respond to economic crises. For example, liberals are more supportive of free markets than democrats.