To be clear, the goal is not to elect a socialist into office. A socialist politician bound by the current political system will only result in small, incremental reforms which are easily reversed by the opposition.
The goal instead is revolution. Revolution is the class struggle which leads to political change and the triumph of the people. It is the overthrow of a system in favor of a new system.
In capitalist countries, revolution is justified and likely to succeed when objective conditions favor it and the subjective factors of the revolution are strong enough.
Objective conditions1 are the current situation of the ruling system.
A political and economic crisis of the system can become so serious as to violently split the ruling class and prevent it from ruling in the old way. The ruling class engages in open terror against a wide range of people and is extremely isolated. The people in general, including the unorganized, are disgusted with the system and want to change it2.
The subjective factors are the conscious and organized forces of the revolution.
These are the revolutionary party and the mass organizations. To gauge their strength, one has to consider their ideological, political and organized status and capabilities.
The objective conditions are primary over the subjective factors. Objective conditions appear first and serve as the basis for the development of the revolutionary forces.
The Communist Party cannot be accused of inventing or causing the political and economic crisis of the bourgeois ruling system.
It is possible for the objective conditions to be strong but the subjective factors weak - or vice versa. In either case, it is foolish to rush into strategically decisive confrontation with the bourgeoisie.
At this stage of world history, only the people within each country can best know their own situation and have the right to determine their destiny. Those willing to fight must do what they can to critically study objective conditions and past revolutions, and work toward forming the subjective factors.