Whether you’re a political novice or seasoned politician, chances are you’ve heard the terms “liberal” and “Democrat” used often. These words are synonymous for many people, but there’s a lot more to their meanings than meets the eye.
To be a liberal means to support the concept of individual liberty and believe in progressive government to address social and economic inequality. A Democrat is someone who supports the Democratic Party, one of two major political parties in the United States. Historically, the Democratic Party was rooted in liberalism, but the values and beliefs of political parties evolve over time.
In recent years, the Democratic Party has become more centered on progressive policies such as Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. However, some members of the Democratic Party have more moderate or conservative views on certain issues such as gun control and climate change. These people are referred to as “Democratic Mainstays” or “Blue Dog Democrats,” and their opinions often influence the majority of Democrats in the United States.
To avoid confusion and misinterpretation, it’s important to use the terminology correctly when describing political ideology. Be sure to understand how the concepts of liberal vs democrat differ and how the definitions are evolving. By doing so, you can better help others understand the differences between progressive politics and traditional conservatism. This will ultimately benefit our democracy and ensure the continued survival of our republic. – Faiz Shakir, Ph.D., is a political scientist who studies American politics and public opinion. He is a co-founder of The Washington Post’s Beltway & Bazaar blog and the author of three books on political culture and history.