I believe this issue is so contentious, because many Americans misunderstand the definition of "socialism". Here's what the dictionary says: "socialism[soh-shuh-liz-uh m] noun 1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. 2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory. 3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles. The dictionary definition means private individuals can't own or control capital or land (the "means of production"). Democratic socialists want to move the economy from a capitalist model to a socialist model, with collective ownership of capital. True socialism has never worked effectively to raise standards of living. Social democracies (e.g. the Scandinavian countries) do well, but their economic structure is capitalist, not socialist. Everywhere true socialism has been tried, it's failed. So I don't support the socialist approach. The third dictionary definition--an intermediate step on the path to communism--is even more extreme, and not something I believe many Americans want.