What is the Difference Between a Liberal and a Democrat?

What is the difference between a Liberal and a Democrat?

Liberals and Democrats both believe in promoting social justice, equality (made possible by the government), protecting the environment and more. The main difference between the two parties is how big a role they think the government should play in society. Specifically, Democrats tend to support more regulations and social welfare programs while Republicans tend to prefer a smaller government with less involvement in the economy.

In addition, Democrats generally support a higher minimum wage and progressive taxation whereby people in higher income brackets pay more taxes. Meanwhile, Republicans oppose these types of policies and typically favor lower taxes for everyone. The Democratic party also supports a more generous aid package to the poor and marginalized, while Republicans often support a more restrictive immigration policy and more aggressively pursue U.S. national security interests, even if that means acting unilaterally.

Overall, the differences between the parties are substantial. However, there have been some signs of a shift in ideological alignment over the last few years. Specifically, the leftward movement of Democrats has resulted in a greater level of ideological congruence with Republicans on many specific policy issues.

For example, in 2020, the average score for Democratic voters on questions regarding support for abortion and aid to blacks shifted from 3.3% to 5%, while the same question for Republican voters moved from 4.7% to 5.4%. Likewise, the average score on questions regarding support for the Environmental Protection Agency increased from 4.3% to 5.7% and support for stronger enforcement of immigration laws decreased from 6.1% to 2.9%.