My sympathies when I was growing up were vaguely liberal Republican. I went through a libertarian phase in the late 1970s and 1980s, because I thought a consistent ideology was very cool, and because it seemed an appropriate antidote to the rampant leftism that dominated where I lived in California. I'm a conservative now--but on a lot of issues, I'm not so terribly far from where I was in the early 1970s--it is just that "liberal" has turned into something utterly monstrous.
One of the really strange things about the present Democratic Party is that they are truly and solely glued to their ugly Leftist base which hinders their electability: They have enough money to compete but not enough votes to win the presidency. These Democratic politicians have clumsily been trying to appeal to the center and failing for a long time. The Clinton presidency, an exception, masked the problem for 8 years--remember on Election Days, Bill Clinton couldn't manage more than 50% of the vote. That is just speaking of social issues.
Relating to foreign policy, most of the Democratic politicians have been flowing with the mercurial news cycle with respect to the War, thus presenting themselves as an unprincipled opposition. Even though many Americans might not be optimistic today about Iraq, they still trust the Republicans more than the Democrats on foreign policy. So, the Democrats have pull at the some local levels (the coasts) but the national realm is majority Republican.
For this, the Democrats have only themselves to blame.