The main aspect of socialism that was apparent in the Populists’ program was their desire to have the government own various types of concerns that were usually private.
The Populists wanted government ownership of various things. Most specifically, they wanted the government to own various types of utilities that were necessary for life. For example, they wanted the government to own water supply companies. They wanted the government to own electric companies. They wanted the government to own streetcar companies. The Populists felt that having the government owning these things would prevent the consumers from being exploited. They felt that the companies used their monopoly power to abuse the consumers. Because of this, they wanted government ownership that would allow the people to control the prices that these utilities could charge.