love this analogy!
we spent a long time equating "Socialism" with "The Enemy" after WWII... it didn't matter who they were or what they believed, if they were "socialist" they were "evil".
I think a lot of people in the US have a knee-jerk reaction against socialism as a result of the rhetoric that went on for decades.
The same goes for the UK and all countries who drank the neoliberal kool-aid that Reagan and Thatcher were pouring up. So the word elicits a negative reaction--even in Europe today--despite the fact many socialist policies are already in place.
"I'll drive on whichever side of the road I damn well please, thank you!"
All hail capitalist hegemony 🙃