RAMOS: So what, exactly, is democratic socialism? It’s the idea that democracy and the economy work best when there is a strong social safety net- one that provides people with universal access to education and healthcare, one that protects workers and the environment. Democratic socialism believes that people can participate best in a democracy when their basic needs are taken care of. Democratic socialism is different from traditional socialism. Traditional socialism calls for a state-run economy with no free-market capitalism. In practice, traditional socialism often ends in authoritarian disaster. Think of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and North Korea. They all call themselves “socialist countries”. This is what older generations think of when they hear the word “socialism”: poverty, repression, and lack of individual freedoms. But younger generations tend to think of socialism as a system of basic guarantees, protections, and rights for all workers, children, the elderly, and the environment. Most democratic socialists aren’t advocating for a government takeover. They simply want a level playing field for everyone to succeed.