Hickory, the term "Democratic Socialist" was coined by German communists after East Germany collapsed. They knew communism wouldn't sell, so they changed their label.
Let's recall that Marxist-Leninism, as taught in the Soviet empire (where I was a slave in my youth), taught us (brainwashed most of us) that a) capitalism was evil, b) socialism involved state ownership of the means of production and commerce, and c) society would evolve towards communism, where there would be no private property at all, and everybody would give as much as they could, and receive what they needed (the detail they left out was the fact that the communist party leaders decided who "needed" what).
Socialism, therefore, is integral to Marxism, and it involves increasing the government's share of the economy, by creating industrial and service structures run by government bureaucrats.
Socialism has an interesting side branch: national socialism as conceived by Adolf Hitler, which instead of putting everything under government ownership, would create a government command system to dictate to private enterprise every detail of how they were to function.
Both nazism (a member of the fascist family), and socialism, involve the elimination of individual choice and freedom, censorship, and the use of violence, including torture, concentration camps and genocide, to achieve their ends. So we see that both extremes, fascism and socialism, are similar in practice, the differences being mostly cosmetic as far as a regular joe working in a factory is concerned.
I use the term communists for what you call socialist because communists do explain socialism is a way station to their utopia, which of course isn't possible to achieve. In the US you have a hard core of communists who are selling themselves as "Democratic Socialists" (call them DSA) copying the East German nomenclature and strategy, which takes them to sell neomarxism. These DSA communists use the European neomarxist recipe, which has four pillars: 1. Identitarian ideology, whereby they define homosexuals, minorities they define as such, women, and inmigrants as "aggrieved and underprivileged classes". 2. Encouraging illegal inmigration to swell the "minority underclass", 3. Encouraging radical feminism which claims the "white capitalist patriarchate" abuses women. 4. Using measures to control climate change as a Trojan Horse to introduce "climate justice" and the type of legislation they know will turn countries into giant gulags.
I study these modern communists closely, because they are the enemy. Fortunately they are fairly open about their aims. For example Ocasio mentions "capitalism must end" or similar words in several interviews, and I have minutes of DSA meetings written by their leaders where they discuss the need to hide their real aims from those attending their meetings "because they are not ready". I also saw a document where the DSA author wrote they had to increase recruiting activity in sectors such as the electricity generation and distribution industry, so they could eventually induce large strikes and cause governments to collapse and yield to them.
These guys are easy to identify because they come out jumping in defense of the two ugliest dictatorships ever seen in the Western Hemisphere: Castro's and Chavez's. When we drill down and research those who come out defending them, we see they are communists (or what you call socialists or sometimes progressives, a name I consider a backwards designation for retrogrades who want to take humanity back 100 years to the early years of the Soviet empire).
I realize what I explain doesn't sit well with a community taught to think of itself as morally superior dogooders, when in reality they are like a zombie army snapping their jaws, on their way to destroy civilization. What we see in Venezuela isn't an accident, it's what these zombies do. We have seen them defend that monster for many years, and so now here we are, millions of Venezuelans in a desperate diaspora, hundreds of thousands dead who didn't have to die, and 30 million living in a socialist dystopia, drinking sewage and roaming streets looking for food scraps.