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Bernie Sanders to explain "democratic socialism"

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said on Sunday that he will give "a major speech in the not-too-distant future" to explain what it means to be a democratic socialist, as he defines himself.

"I think there are a lot of people who, when they hear the word 'socialist,' get very, very nervous," Sanders said in Iowa City. "To me, democratic socialism means democracy. It means creating a government that represents all of us, not just the wealthiest people in the country."

Sanders: American middle class is shrinking 07:57

The Vermont senator pointed out that Americans already embrace certain "socialist institutions."

"You go to your public library, or you call your fire department or police department, what do you think you are calling?" he said.

Sanders' main opponent for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, declined to comment on the label "democratic socialist" in an interview with a Colorado broadcast station over the weekend. Clinton, who calls herself a progressive Democrat, said she would not apply the label of "democratic socialist" to herself.

In the first Democratic debate last week, Sanders attempted to explain democratic socialism to the nation.

"What democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost 90 percent -- almost -- own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. That it is wrong, today, in a rigged economy, that 57 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent," he said. "That when you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States."

A Gallup survey conducted in June showed that just 47 percent of the country said they would vote for a qualified socialist presidential candidate; 50 percent said they would not.

Meanwhile, conservative candidates like Donald Trump continue to slam Sanders for his socialist views. Earlier this month, Trump called Sanders a "maniac," telling his audience that Sanders would "tax you people at 90 percent" and "take everything."

"Nobody heard the term communist, but you know what, I call him a socialist/communist, okay? 'Cause that's what he is," Trump said.

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