I agree with your sentiment about how news media are deliberately using coded language that undermines or reinforces political candidates. With regard to Sanders and the semantics of socialism, however, you erred when you said, “the U.S. has had a major issue with communism in the past century, and communists tends to associate themselves with socialism, and some people argue that it’s difficult to get Americans to even understand the difference between the two.” The error in this statement is referencing “communism” and “communists” as if they ever really existed. In mainstream parlance, perhaps, it’s said that the Soviets were “communists.” But when you use the mainstream parlance, you play straight into the hands of elitist intelligence intellects in the West whose intent was always to undermine any movement to interrupt their colonialist wealth creation strategy which is a root cause of deprivation and poverty around the world. As a technical matter, you see, “communism” has never existed at any time in history. Marx used the word to describe a utopian society in which all would serve their fellow comrades as their needs required. Socialism was one of Marx’s stages of social change in the path of historic materialism — a precursor on the path toward communism. For the record, I think Marx’s deterministic view of history is a bunch of shite, but studying Marx focuses the mind on the questions of how inequality is formed. For the sake of credibility, I think utopian ideals are foolhardy (and extremely dangerous). On the other hand, the pursuit of ideals *within a fair democratic process* is itself an imperfect but satisfactory pseudo-utopia. If you mean to refer to mainstream “communists” such as the Soviets, call them what they really were: They were totalitarian socialists. Or call them Bolsheviks. They took, by power, control over the political, social, media, military, and economic forces of the government, and subjected all to the dictates of — and this is important to understanding the difference — of a HIERARCHICAL political elite. They subjected their economy to long-term plans to achieve political purposes — plans that were usually absent any rational notion of real-world dynamics, and which at worst were murderous (in the tens of millions, for example, who died of starvation in the Soviet Union due to the forced collectivization of agriculture). The Soviet Union was “socialist” only in the sense that, on paper, the government paid lip service to Marxist utopian ideals as a destination if the people sacrificed enough, while in the meantime, the political class lived as society’s pinnacle elite. So please, in the future, always try to refer to systems for what they are, or were — not “communist,” but TOTALITARIAN. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it did so based upon the internal contradictions of a planned economy system that rotted from within. It wasn’t Ronald Reagan who defeated the “communists.” No, the United States didn’t “win the Cold War.” Instead, the Soviet Union lost the Cold War by simply withering away. It’s a major failure in the US perspective, then, to use the example of “winning the Cold War” to vindicate a small ‘r’ republican-capitalist system that has its own internal contradictions. When you — when all of us — clarify the terms of discussion (which will take time), we open up the space in which rational conversations can take place about exactly what we mean when we use the mainstream usage of the word “socialism” — as you have attempted to do by differentiating “democratic socialism” — an imperfectly NON-HIERARCHICAL political system married to a regulated but still competitive, hierarchical economic system, from the bad old “communist” style of socialism. It should also be said that NO CAPITALIST SYSTEM is truly “free” — nor would it want to be. Capitalists love regulation that helps them, and no capitalist would be free to operate without laws and institutions (which are not costless) that protect their income streams and wealth. Otherwise, again, thank you for your opinion piece. Well done!