Following Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek, this post is dedicated to "the socialists of all parties."
Let's start by defining socialism and how American millennials define this concept. As Professor Waldock from Georgetown says, socialism "is a system in which the state owns and controls all means of production. So anything that you think of a regular corporation making, whether it is computers or construction materials. All of these businesses, all these means of production, are owned by the state," like the Soviet Union or Cuba. However, American millennials usually see socialism as an increase in the whole of the government in the economy through major income redistribution programs, regulation of the economy, and big welfare provisions funded ideally by greater taxes on the rich. In other words, American millennials mix socialism with social democracy. The average American millennial sees Western Europe as socialist. They want to be like Western Europe, i.e. they want to be more equalitarian, they want to have less homeless people on the streets, they want higher top income taxes. No one denies that income equality can give great benefits, all else equal. However, Americans are not aware of the high price Europe pays for their social democracy.
Major government interventions in the economy often create economic deadweight losses and negative externalities (i.e. one’s actions can have negative effects on others for which they do not directly pay). For example, many European countries, like Spain and Italy, have extremely high unemployment rates around 20%, youth unemployment around 40%, and it is normal in these countries to take 8-10 years to finish their undergraduate degree. A major reason this happens is that they have great unemployment benefits, free health care, free university tuition, and very high taxes. Much fewer people want to work if you already have free healthcare, the government pays you to be unemployment, and you have to pay insanely high taxes. For at least 50 years, this relative lack of incentives to work has been contributing to Europe's very slow growth rates. Countries that were much poorer than Europe, like Singapore and Taiwan, are today much richer. Singapore specifically is 2 times richer than Germany (World Bank). Europe's importance in the world has been failing for at least half a century (Hu et al, 2014). Compared to the US, Europe's population is roughly 2 times bigger (~600 million) but their GDP per capita is about the same. This means that an American is, on average, 2 times richer than a European and this gap should increase even more due to the euro.
Even "good" Europe - such as Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland - is very different than Americans think. As Professor Zingales from the University of Chicago says, Scandinavian countries "are quite capitalist in the sense of having a free enterprise, having competition, [...] and making the firing of workers easier so that the companies are more flexible." Moreover, in several of these countries, like Sweden, the tax code requires the rich to pay fewer taxes than they are required in the US, i.e. their taxation system is more regressive. Taxing the rich, to a large extent, is impossible and Scandinavian countries have already realized that by lowering the capital tax to prevent capital flight (Sorensen, 2010). Scandinavian states have chosen to do so despite the fact that most of the income of the rich comes from capital gains (Piketty, 2014). In other words, this policy of decreases in capital taxes can potentially increase inequality. Moreover, basically, none of the "good" European countries have a minimum wage, while many US millennials ask for $15/hour. In Switzerland, specifically, they have a lump-sum taxation system, i.e. if you are rich enough you only have to pay a symbolic part of your income in taxes. It is true that the Scandinavians are very rich. Norway, for example, has roughly the same GDP per capita as Minnesota, i.e. one of America's richest states. However, no Scandinavian country became rich due to social democracy. They became rich with small governments, little regulation, and believe in free markets. After they were already rich they created their major social programs.
The idea that major income redistribution and huge social welfare will bring equality and will not make Americans poorer is a myth. Out of the 200 countries in the world, how many do you know which were highly unequal 70 years ago and today is highly equal? The US millennials' idea of socialism is a utopia which they will (with a high level of certainty) never be able to reach. Last but not least, elections cannot fundamentally change a country. If some institutional aspect of your country bothers you, like inequality, data suggest that your best bet is to move to another country (and you may want to renounce your US citizenship).