You say: “Socialism is just a kinder, gentler version of communism. Democrats should think twice before they abandon capitalism.” Socialism is NOT a kinder, gentler version of communism: it is Communism without absolute power, forced to present as a kinder, gentler version of itself in order to beguile weak-minded voters to elect its candidates. Don’t mistake weakness for kindness: it is not. In its powerless democratic avatar, Socialism can appear kind, and indeed attracts many kind, naive people who think socialism will save the poor from poverty. These are exactly the “useful idiots” that Lenin used to undermine Western Democracies; and the first against the wall after the Glorious Revolution installed a Communist Dictatorship.
Say instead “Socialism is just communism without absolute power, so forced to present a kinder, gentler persona.”