DES MOINES-- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders provided one of his most extensive explanations yet for what he means when he calls himself a democratic socialist.

The question came from an undecided voter who wondered why Sanders didn't "seem too troubled" by the label.

"What democratic socialism means to me is that economic rights, the right to economic security, should exist in the United States of America," Sanders said. "It means there is something wrong and government should play a role in making sure that all of our kids regardless of their income are able to get a higher education."

Sanders has explained his meaning of democratic socialism before, including at an earlier Democratic debate. But that answer was focused very much on the gap between the rich and the poor.

"And what democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost 90 percent — almost — own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent," Sanders said at the last CNN debate in October.

The issue of Sanders' self-identification has become fodder for his Democratic opponents who say that the country will never accept someone who identifies as a socialist.

As Hillary Clinton's ally, and Sanders' colleague in the Senate, Claire McCaskill of Missouri noted to the New York Times recently: “The Republicans won’t touch him because they can’t wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle."

And 50 percent of Americans said in a Gallup poll said they would not vote for a socialist if their party nominated one.

With Sanders's candidacy ascending and voting drawing close in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders was given an opportunity to expand on his views.

He also noted that in other countries like Germany and Scandinavian countries have implemented the same ideas and they are "not radical ideas."

"What democratic socialism means to me in its essence is we cannot continue to have a government dominated by the billionaire class and a Congress that continues to work in the interest of the people at the top and ignoring working families.

"What this campaign is about and what I believe in is creating a government that works for all of us not just a handful of people at the top. That’s my definition of democratic socialism," he added.