Liberal, According to Wikipedia, this means to support Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, Free Market, Civil Rights, Democratic Societies, Secular Government, Gender Equality, and International cooperation. According to all common knowledge, the Democrat Party is the party for liberals, and this is shown very clearly in this graphic.
The Republican Party was founded on the 20th of March, 1854, in Ripon Wisconsin. It was a strongly Liberal Party, according to the definition of liberal, It strongly opposed slavery, it was in favor of a free market, fought for free speech, and never encroached on freedom of religion. By all accounts, It was clearly the Liberal party in the eighteen hundreds, The Republican party pushed the 13th amendment, 14th amendment, and 15th amendment, all in order to help deliver equal rights to oppressed Minorities, was it perfect, of course not. And their opponents, the Democrats, who at that time identified as Conservatives opposed these measures. Once again in a fight for Civil Rights, the Republicans helped pass the nineteenth amendment, giving women the right to vote, and then even in 1965, the Republicans pushed the 1965 Civil Rights act, 94% of Republicans supporting it, compared with 70% of Democrats.
However Democrats have a handy tool for discarding this argument and just about everyone has heard it, "well yes the republicans did all of that... but the parties switched platforms in the early to mid 1900s."
So if Republicans and Democrats switched platforms, When did that happen, Many people like to argue that it happened between the 1940s and the 1960s, however the clearly from looking at the civil rights act of 1965 as well as this electoral college map, that just is not the case If the Parties had flipped and Democrats were truly liberals, they would have pushed the civil rights act. The first signs of a possible switch in platforms can be found in 1964 where the only states to vote Republican against Democrat Lyndon Johnson were in the deep south. However, other factors were at play, Barry Goldwater was portrayed as a strongly pro-war Candidate, versus Lyndon who was much less pro-war. The South happened to be more supportive of the Vietnam war and so of course the south sided with Barry Goldwater, and of course the very next year, the Republicans would show their classical Liberal beliefs and push the 1965 civil Rights act to its signing. When I look at the map, the first signs of the parties switching their places on the map, North vs South, Mid-America vs Coastal America can be found in 1988. In fact, the 1980 election showed the strong southern democrat presence, It may be surprising but one of the few states Ronald Reagan lost in 1980 was actually georgia.
How odd it is, I type in "When did parties flip" on Google and find, livescience.com telling me that they flipped somewhere between the 1860s and 1936. This is a complete and utter joke, No, the Parties did not simply flip between that time, or else someone's going to have to explain why democrats performed significantly better in the south than they did in the north up to 1988. What if in reality, Democrats never were a liberal party, What if they never switched platforms with the Republicans. Democrats merely became bigger government, they never became liberal, and the reasoning is clear.
If Democrats are Liberal and Republicans are conservative by the classic definitions, then wouldn't it be clear that Democrats fit into the liberal definition.
Time to myth bust.
On the Topic of Free Speech, if Liberals, by the classical definition, are more pro-free speech, the liberal party should be in favor of free speech in all cases. Remembering, free speech is to protect controversial speech, not speech that everyone agrees with.
According to Pew Research, on the topic of censoring offensive speech against minorities, 28% of Americans believe anything perceived as offensive to minorities should be censored by the government, The Liberal Party, being pro-free speech should be in favor of free speech even when they think what is being said is wrong, the old idea that "even if I don't like what your saying, i'll die for your right to say it."
Which party is more Liberal, well 35% of Democrats support censoring free speech in this regard compared to 18% of Republicans. by this regard, Republicans are definitionally more classically liberal than Democrats on the subject of free speech.
On the Topic of Freedom of Religion, Liberals would be very pro freedom of religion, in the same way as if kids are not allowed to wear hats in school or head coverings, they still can if it is for religious purposes, shouldn't this apply across the board. On the topic of whether businesses should be forced to serve gay marriages. If someone is against homosexuality for religious reasons, as a member of the private sector and not the government, they should have the right to stick to their own beliefs and not be compelled by force to engage in something they don't believe is moral, It is the same issue as if doctors should be forced to perform abortions, if the believe it morally wrong, most Americans think doctors should not be forced to perform the abortion, by a overwhelming majority. To be pro Freedom of Religion means you let people practice their religion and not force them into something they believe to be wrong, and this actually gives a huge advantage to secular businesses because whenever you refuse someone a service they should just go to another place, give that other rival company the money that you, the refuser, would have gained, and now you are at a disadvantage.
So how do the parties compare. Well according to this pew Research poll, Republicans are much more likely to say that a business should not be forced to service something it finds morally wrong, 68% of Republicans believe this, compared to merely 33% of Democrats, a vast difference between the two parties. Thus a majority of Republicans believe that people should be able to practice their religion without being forced to do things in the private sector that they find wrong, compared with only one third of Democrats believing the same.
On the Topic of Free Market, clearly this isn't even an argument, Democrats are the big government, higher minimum wage, and pro-regulation party. Republicans are certainly more free market except for the more Trumplican Republicans who constitute a minority, compared with the vast majority of pro government intervention democrats.
Civil Rights speak for themselves, Women's rights, Minority's rights, from voting to citizenship, Republicans lead the way. In fact the only percieved civil right fight that Republicans didn't push would be Gay marriage but in reality, something such as gay Marriage may not be as clear cut as it seems. We can all define any person as human and therefore give them equal rights, it is scientifically probable that we are all indeed the same species, however Gay Marriage, rather than giving a natural right to a person, it seems to change the definition of a word and that's where many had a problem with it, being gay had already been legal, but many people believed that Marriage was a religious institution that meant a union between a Man and Woman. Therefore people, rather than withholding rights, were merely following what they believed to be definitionally true, marriage was for a man and a woman. Historically this had been true, and unlike showing that all people are equal, there is no way to show that marriage could mean any union, thus it was a fight to change a definition rather than a civil rights fight. Historically and recently, Republicans have proven to be more Liberal under the classic liberal definition on the topic of civil rights.
As for Democratic societies and secular governments, it does not seem as if either party pushes for a theocracy or pushes against democracy.
As for gender equality, the reality is women's rights were pushed for by the Republican party, unless your going to argue that all the recently made up genders are being fought for by the Democrat party, this part goes to the Republicans. But even more so, not only did Republicans fight for women's rights, they also don't spread as many myths as the Democrats which create a victim culture. One thing is blatantly true, there is no wage gap, I'd you disagree, argue in the comments, but facts will win out.
In almost every category listed, Republicans fit the definition of Liberal better, so why do Democrats identify as Liberal. One obvious reason might be that Democrats know liberal is linked with civil rights, if they identify as liberal, they are granted moral superiority on the grounds that their self description is linked to great historical movements, which of course didn't originate from their party, but at least they feel good.
Based on these findings, the conclusion must be as follows. The Democrat Party overall is not, by definition, Liberal. It fits into very few of the categories that are define Liberalism, just as the feminist agenda has been warped by pseudo Feminists, The liberal agenda has been warped by Pseudo liberals. To be in favor, ever, of restricting free speech in hopes of keeping people from getting their feelings hurt is a direct assault upon liberty itself. The first Amendment wasn't designed with the hope everyone would fit into one category and say what everyone else wanted to hear, the First Amendment was made in the hopes that the most controversial voices would not get shut down by force but rather in a forum of free debate in which ideas are tested. To claim Liberalism is merely a virtue signal that says, look, I identify as the side that fought for civil rights.
Today, according to this Gallup Poll, a disturbing 61% of self identified liberals have positive views towards socialism. While we are at it, why not throw the entire enlightenment philosophical writings out the door, as it seems that people are fine with throwing out history. Here is a fairly innovative line of reasoning, You can not be pro-Free market, and pro-Socialism. Self Identified liberals, at least a large majority, merely on the subject of free market, are disqualified from the definition of liberal.
Lets make Liberalism liberal again!