Democratic socialism has experienced a resurgence in the past decade. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 43% of all Americans, and 58% of those between 18 and 34, believe that socialism would be a “good thing” for the country. A 2021 Gallup poll found that 65% of Democrats, compared with 14% of Republicans, have a positive view of socialism. Democratic Socialists of America has grown from about 6,000 members to about 100,000 members. A growing number of self-identified socialists have been elected to public office. But when people say they support the idea of socialism, what do they mean? Or do they even know what they mean? In 2000, I taught a new course called “Democratic Socialism, American Style” for the first time and have offered it several times since. The course examines democratic socialism in America from several angles – as a utopian vision, as a social and political movement, as a set of practical public policies, and in contrast to more progressive social democracies in other countries.
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