For years our political nomenclature was pretty easy to understand. Conservatives were more closely related to the Republican Party. They claimed to stand for low taxes, an original interpretation of the Constitution, a decentralized Federal government, a balanced budget and a strong military. Liberals were closely related to the Democrat Party. They claimed to stand for social programs that would assist citizens in areas like welfare, retirement, school lunches, etc, and they were willing to raise taxes to pay for those programs. They believe in a “living, breathing Constitution” that would be more appropriate for today's society.
There weren't hard and fast lines separating the two groups. You had Republicans who were pro-choice and Democrats who were pro-life. You also had members of both parties who were strong Second Amendment supporters and others who wanted much stronger gun restrictions.
Both parties now are going through some major realignments. The fight for the Republican Party is between the new Trump/Tea Party Republicans and the establishment/RINO “moderate” Republicans. The Democrat's fight is between the traditional Hilary Clinton establishment and the progressive/Socialist Bernie Sanders wing. From my point view, it looks like the Progressives are easily winning the heart and soul of the Democrat Party.
I have many friends who are Democrats. They will even tell you that they are “Progressives”. There is a difference between the traditional liberal and today's progressives. I would suggest that those life long Democrats examine their beliefs to determine if they are more new age Progressive or more traditional Liberal. Here are just some of the contrasts:
A Liberal believes that there are two sexes, male and female and maybe a few hermaphrodites. Progressives think that there are as many as 72 or more sexes. Liberals have a “live and let live” attitude about transsexuals. Progressives think that the taxpayers should pay for the operations to change a man into a woman or vice versa because these operations are so expensive. A Liberal thinks that men should use the Men's Room, Men's showers and should compete in male sporting events, while women should use designated Women's Rooms and showers and should compete in female sports. Progressives believe that a man who declares himself a women should be able to use a women's bathroom and shower as well as compete in female sports and vice versa for a women who declares herself a man.
A conventional Liberal may totally disagree with what you say, but “would defend to the death your right to say it.” A Progressive may vow support for free speech, but would oppose speech that they consider to be “hate speech” and would limit, ridicule and suppress speech and words that they consider to be microaggressions or “dog whistles” that might offend any member of any of their designated minority groups. Liberals would encourage and vigorously engage in debates with those with different points of view. Progressives tend to evade debate because, they will assert, opposing views are either racist, sexist, fascist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, or any other ism or phobia they have or will manufacture.
Orthodox Liberals believe in our nation's motto, “e pluribus unum,” meaning “out of many – one.” Progressives seek to divide our population by sex, ethnicity, race, national origin, wealth and sexual preference, among other divisions.
Original Liberals believe in Capitalism with a compassionate social safety net. Progressives think, against all evidence to the contrary, that Socialism and/or a more humane Communism is the wave of the future and should be encouraged for our country.
Alluding to Hans Christian Andersen's famous tale, a Progressive will tell everyone how wonderful the Emperor's new clothes look, while a Liberal will say only that the Emperor is naked.
Long standing liberal Democrats have a few choices. They can fight the far left drift of their party. They can re-register as Independents or even Republicans or they can go with the flow and become Progressive.