The reason why in the past the word Liberal has almost been seen as bad as a cuss word or someone would call someone a Liberal like they would call someone a jerk or a bastard or an insult worst than that, is because of how successful the partisan right-wing going back to Richard Nixon and perhaps even to Barry Goldwater to make Liberals look like something they aren’t. And liberalism something that it isn’t. Which is some big government statist ideology that is all about government running people’s lives for them. And against everything that has made America work mostly having to do with freedom.
Another reason why the word Liberal has been seen as something as bad as a horrible insult, is that people who aren’t Liberals, but have more of a big government statist Far-Left ideology, get called Liberals by people in the media who don’t understand liberalism. And people who again share that big government statist philosophy calling themselves Liberals. Even though they don’t even understand liberalism themselves. Or prefer to be called Liberal instead of something else that is even less popular in America. Like a Socialist, Communist or Statist.
But if you go up to 2008 the charge against Barack Obama when he was running for president the charge from the right-wing was no longer labeling him a Liberal. But a Socialist and for good reason, because Americans now no longer see Liberal as a bad thing especially younger Americans. More Americans are learning more about liberalism and understanding it. And also more Americans now see their own politics as Liberal as well which is a big reason why young Americans overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama for president in 2008. And reelected President Obama in 2012.
Liberal is not a dirty word, but a clean beautiful word that is about liberty, liberation, empowerment. Notice the words Liberal and Libertarian sound similar because even though they are certainly different. But they believe in similar things like individual rights and liberty and privacy. And are skeptical about what large organizations can do for them that they can’t do for themselves. Whether they are public or private institutions and more Americans now believe in these things as well.
Wendell Willkie: 1940 Presidential Campaign