Well, certainly the Republican Party will consider the socialist label to be important strategically
My point is that it will be used ‘against’ them anyway. Especially if Sanders is the candidate, which is the most likely scenario at present. Backing off the label would be disingenuous as he’s called himself a socialist in the past and the party platform does include ‘socialist’ programs. The Left has been scared of that label for far too long. I think that’s part of what lets people think “get your government hands off my Medicare” is a coherent statement. People don’t realize ‘socialism’ is working for them because we are too scared to say it.
I’m a young professional working in the DC-metro area. I know that’s a bubble if there ever was one but I don’t think it’s too relevant to the discussion.