“Indeed, today in the United States, unlike most other countries, many people consider "socialism" a dirty word, even though (as several public opinion surveys suggest) most are unable to define it. One of the first questions that foreigners may ask is, "Why do many Americans find socialism so unappealing?"
Several explanations are possible. One is that the United States is essentially a two-party political system in which third parties have little chance of significant electoral success ... Another explanation is that socialism is a working-class movement and ideology, and surveys show that most Americans - whether blue- or white-collar - think of themselves as belonging to the "middle class." A third and closely related explanation is that the fluidity of class distinctions, and a corresponding possibility of "moving up" socially and economically, renders socialism unappealing to people who think of themselves as upwardly mobile. A fourth explanation is that the long and still-strong tradition of liberal individualism in the United States makes "collectivist" ideologies unappealing. The idea of "rugged individualists" who "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" retains a powerful appeal among many Americans.”