A good distinction. The Dems used to be pragmatic, but now are ideological. David Carlin makes the distinction and then sketches the ideology of the contemporary Democrat Party:
(1) They [the intellectual leaders of the party] preach a metaphysics: There is no God, at least no God like the God of the Bible; no Supreme Being who created the universe and governs it. And if they sometimes say that they are agnostics, not atheists, their agnosticism is virtually identical with atheism; the two differ in name only.
(2) They preach a theory of knowledge: There is no knowledge other than sense-based knowledge, the kind of empirical knowledge upon which natural science is based. (They pride themselves on their respect for science even though very few of them are actual scientists or philosophers or historians of science.) Thus there is no such thing as Divine Revelation. And there is no such thing as trans-empirical intuitive knowledge – for example, intuitive knowledge of the existence of God, of the immortality of the soul, of the fundamental laws of morality.
Comment: The Dems promote scientism, the epistemology of metaphysical naturalism. The latter, roughly, is the thesis that reality is exhausted by the space-time system and its contents. Scientism is the philosophical (not scientific!) doctrine that all genuine knowledge is natural-scientific knowledge. It is a philosophical doctrine that entails the noncognitive status of all philosophy including itself!
Typically, the proponents of scientism don't see the problems with it; their ideological commitment is dogmatic and uncritical. A particularly offensive example is provided by Senator Barbara Boxer in this brief YouTube video in which she derides philosophy and a philosopher who dares to dissent from the party line on fossil fuels.
(3) They preach a theory of morality, a morality of maximum personal liberty. We should be free to do as we like, and we should tolerate a like freedom in others. Of course certain practical limits must be placed on this freedom if we are to avoid a war of all against all: we should not be free to inflict direct and tangible harm on non-consenting others.
(4) Sexual freedom: While there are many other kinds of freedom, sexual freedom is, so to speak, the keystone of the arch. If sexual intolerance is permitted, many other kinds of intolerance will follow.
Comment: The tendency is to give free rein to concupiscence in all of its forms, without of course admitting that this is what one is doing. Concupiscence? What's that? Do you think that our deep natural concupiscence, excited and maintained by the blandishments of a sex-saturated society, might help explain why the many strong arguments against abortion are simply dismissed unexamined by the 'pro choice' crowd? The existence of a moral issue is not admitted. It is just assumed that the right to an abortion is a woman's reproductive right.
(5) Anti-Christianity: The most influential opponent of the above beliefs and values is Christianity, more especially old-fashioned Catholic and Protestant Christianity. Therefore old-fashioned Christianity must be marginalized, must be driven into a social corner where it can do little or no harm.
Comment: But at the same time, Islam is touted as the religion of peace, and its dangers denied.
(6) Omnicompetent government. There is no problem, not even the problem of controlling the terrestrial climate for the next 10,000 years, that cannot be solved, at least in the long run, by the action of the U.S. federal government. Do we have problems of poverty or crime or education or health or drug addiction or global warming? There must be solution that Washington can find for it – a law, an agency, a spending program, a global treaty, etc.
Carlin's article is here.