Ultimately, however, Sweden is not what democratic socialists like Bhaskar Sunkara, publisher of Jacobin Magazine, a quarterly socialist journal, are looking for. "We come from the same tradition," he said about Democratic Socialists and Social Democrats. Generally, he added, social democrats do not see a role for private capital in their ideal system, and democratic socialists do not.
… but Americans use it to mean a lot of things.
In countries that have several left-wing parties, these distinctions are commonly understood. This is not the case in the United States.
"Here in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to introduce socialism in our country," President Trump said in his State of the Union speech this year. "Tonight we decide that America will never be a socialist country."
Mr. Sanders identifies himself as a democratic socialist, but when asked on Tuesday how he defines this, he described something closer to social democracy.
"What democratic socialism essentially means to me is the completion of the vision that Franklin Delano Roosevelt began about 85 years ago. And that is to move forward in the wealthiest country in the world, guaranteeing all our citizens a fair standard of living, "he said. "And to do that, of course, we need to fight the oligarchy and the incredibly unfair and unequal distribution of wealth and income and take over the incredible political power that the 1 percent have."
The policies that Mr. Sanders supports – such as health care payers, a free public university, and higher taxes on empires to fund safety net programs – are also standard in social democracies.