The perverse lure of the new Progressives

February 28, 2019

Tom Fulks


What is the lure of the local new Progressive movement?

As a Democrat most of my adult life, it’s hard to comprehend what’s become of the party that once attracted and welcomed me. As a member of this County’s Democratic Central Committee in the 1970s, it was open to liberals, moderates, and conservative Democrats alike. The composition of the Committee reflected that. No longer. Now that Committee is populated by a monoculture of new Progressives.

The Republican Party certainly has its issues, having elected a president who was a Democrat most of his life who Democrats now despise with a vengeance. In reaction, the ideological lure of the new Progressive movement has allowed it to metastasize itself deep within the Democratic Party at the national, state, and local levels while leaving its’s moderate and centrist adherents in the dust.

Today’s Democratic Party has lurched so far to the left that it is all but unrecognizable from the party of John F. Kennedy.

Let’s reflect on the term “progressive.” It’s defined by Webster’s as an adjective meaning “moving forward.” Now who wouldn’t want to be identified with moving forward as opposed to standing still or moving backward? It would be great if today’s “Progressives” fit that definition, but they don’t. Their embrace of group-think, “alternative facts”, wanting everything for free, and their intolerance of different views has them moving the wrong way. If anything, the Progressives are actually regressive.

The new Progressives have found fertile ground amongst the overindulged, social media savvy members of the “Millennial” generation– those who are now in their 20s and 30s who see the Progressive movement as their catnip. The lure has sucked them in. They’re drinking the Kool-Ade.

But today’s movement doesn’t come close to the two truly Progressive eras of the early 1900s and the late 1960s/early 1970s. As one who was the age of today’s millennial’s during the heady antiwar days of the 1960s, that Progressive era inherently distrusted big government. We viewed it as part of the problem rather than part of the solution, just the opposite of today’s Progressives.

Has the Democratic Party lost its way? Unless it makes a significant midcourse correction in the direction it’s taking, it would appear so. With the Progressives dominating the party, what’s a fiscal, limited-government conservative and a social liberal like me to do? Join the party of the Progressives? Not!

Having been vilified by our local band of Progressives in the last mayoral election, I’ve felt their single-minded, rigid ideology up close and personal. So where would they take us?

Tribune columnist Tom Fulks was one of the architects of the new Progressive movement who helped lead its takeover of the local Democratic Central Committee in 2017. He’s also its chief propagandist and a very effective one. His messaging rivals even that of Joseph Goebbels during the rise of Adolf Hitler in pre-World War II Germany. Unfortunately, that lure worked all too well.

Fulks was right in claiming that 2018 represented a huge victory for Progressives in our local, state, and national elections. But his proselytizing of those victories, his taking credit for helping make it happen, and the over-the-top performances of new Progressives in office should give us all pause. Hopefully, 2018 was their high-water mark. If not, we’re in for a scary future– one that we all may have read about already.

in rereading George Orwell’s 1984, the comparisons between that novel’s dystopian vision and that of the new Progressives are deeply disturbing. The terms and phrases used in the novel such as “newspeak”, “doublethink”, “thought-crimes”, and “ignorance is knowledge” just hit too close to home.

Local Progressive leader Nick Andre could be “big brother” or Heidi Harmon could be “big sister,” and Tom Fulks could be Chief of the “Thought Police.”

The novel’s cult of personality, its rooting out of individualism, and its stifling of alternative points of view are indelible parts of this movement. Should it continue to thrive, could we be heading for an Orwellian existence?

1984 was written in 1948 and published in 1949 shortly after World War II and upon the rise of Stalinist Russia. While 1984 did not come true in 1984, could it come true 50 years later? If you haven’t read the book, read it. If you’ve read the book, reread it.

I’d be surprised if you didn’t conclude that we’re being lured into an Orwellian existence.


Government schools will teach what government wants….


Are you talking about public schools and universities? Have you ever been to a “government library” like, for example the Library of Congress? Do you call our public libraries “government libraries”


Merriam-Webster dictionary defines slander as:

1 : the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation

2 : a false and defamatory oral statement about a person

Mr. Gurnee in his op-ed is obviously angry about something, otherwise he would not resort to “slander” in violation of CalCoastNews op-ed policies (“Constructive debate is good; mockery, taunting, and name calling are not.”). In such instances as represented by Mr. Gurnee’s statements I find such words are often used by a writer as a consequence of lack of information; by someone who is an ideologue with an authoritarian and undemocratic agenda; and/or has a need to “push back” because in someway they feel threatened.

To inform Mr. Gurnee about the ISSUES which Progressive Democrats address, he and the readers of CalCoastNews are invited to read, before making comment about Progressivism on CalCoastNews, the web pages at Progressive Democrats of America — e.g., see . One need not stoop to using slander once the issues to discuss and advanced by today’s Progressive Democrats are known. Let’s use this Forum on CalCoastNews to have a constructive debate on the issues Progressive Democrats espouse:

Healthcare Human Rights

Equal Rights Amendment

End Corporate Rule

Stop Global Warming

Voter Access Protection & Election Integrity

Economic and Social Justice

Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track

End Wars and Occupations

Mitch C

First of all Healthcare is not a right. For every right there is a responsibility. I started paying for Medicare at age 16 when I had my first job as a dishwasher, then I paid into Medicare every year thereafter until I was 65. Now $205 each month is deducted from my Social Security to pay into Medicare. If the Progressive’s idea of Healthcare Human Right follows the pay for 50 years before collecting then you are on to something, if your idea of Medicare for all is give it to me for free, sorry dude there is no free lunch – someone has to pay. Stealing from someone paying taxes to give you a free benefit is just plane WRONG!


Access to healthcare is a right, or do you think that healthcare is only for those who can afford it?

Mitch C

Everyone should have skin in the game. Your access to Health Care should be based upon your ability to pay, but you MUST pay something if you expect honest taxpayers to supplement your costs. If you are the “unwilling to work” or contribute to your Health Care needs don’t look to me to support you. Health Care is not a right it is a responsibility.


And what is NOT said is that these “goals” have ONLY their way of achieving these ends… total submission to the suppositions that they create to justify the solutions they only want. People are “bad people” who do not endorse the “group think ” of these people. These apparatchiks are not unique. It did not work for the Soviets, the Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) of the 30’s, the Cubans, and currently the Venezuelans. They are the new authoritarians.


Democratic Socialism seems to be working for the Europeans, and, according to the president, Communism is working for the Vietnamese.


One does not need to read anything you have offered. Simply look around, watch the news, read a newspaper, or worst yet look at yahoo. Its nothing but pure one sided smear campaign. I cant recall when the last time I read an article that was pro Republican. You cannot deny more job creation has taken place, yet last I read one of the Dem candidates is running on “fundamentally changing the American economy”. Yeah hows that? whats wrong with making a fortune off hard work? Social and economic equality? free everything and who’s gonna foot the bill? Like Mitch indicated, neither you nor anybody else is entitled to squat, nor is it a right to get anything for free. Here in America you have the right to bust ass and get ahead and Its called hard work. The USA is the land of opportunity and nobody is holding you back from being the Next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet so quit your whining, get an education and get off your ass and do something with yourself besides bitch about the other guys yacht, Ferrari and home.


Republicans need to be more aggressive in saying just what you said…if the one sided media won’t cover their words they need to find another way to wake up the misinformed. I once thought that one day we would see someone stand up in the main stream media and our education system and fix the gross bias that lives within both….but I’m slowly beginning to think that that won’t happen. And its a little scary.

Noodly Appendages

Dear Keith,

Thanks for keeping your thoughts out in the public forum. I never go into that hell hole downtown SLO anymore, but if I did have to, I think it would be a better place if you were running it. Since you mentioned Orwell, I leave you with this;

Some pigs are more equal than others.


There is nothing but absolute political and media division anymore and it not going to end well. In today’s yahoo headliner we had Pelosi chastising Trump for trying to unhinge a potential nuclear disaster waiting to happen with North Korea. Stating N/K “won” because Trump made two visits. How do you figure NK Pelosi? What have you done to help? Nothing but complain about Trump that’s what. In another display of ignorance geared to political party hatred a well educated relative expressed their disgust for Trump because he was building a new hotel at a foreign location that is said to be sinking into the sea. Their scientific explanation is the weight of this new hotel was causing the island to be pushed into the sea never to be seen again and all the poor folks would drown. The proven truth is excessive over pumping of ground water due to massive overpopulation was causing the landmass sinking. This is the mentality of these people and where their heads are at. Fulks and the likes will stop at nothing to discredit normalcy in a fight to being their perverted ideology into power. The term Ineptocracy is all that can be used to describe this party.

nazbol gang

Exactly. Politics is a reality show at this point, a team sport, they’ll attack each other no matter what is at stake or what the facts are. One party will attack the others policy and then turn around and implement the same policy once they are back in power. The same people run the show no matter who wins and the same agenda continues.


Until a few months after Trump was elected I had been a second generation lifetime Democrat. I’m 72, that doesn’t sound right, make it 73. When Trump started spewing all the shi. Democrats have been pulling for decades I left the party and I am now an Independent.

The politicians in this County, progressive or otherwise are a bunch of corrupt crooks. The latest being the pay to play marijuana scheme in Grover Beach.

The most corrupt is Dan Dow because his failure to investigate our local scum emboldens them. We need a squad of “untouchables” to sue all of them. The problem is who has the time. Maybe CCN can publish a list of corruption they have reported on in the last 10 years. If people see the compilation maybe they’ll get upset enough to make time to do something about it in an organization way?


Totally agree. more and more everyday we are exposed to the corruption. I had endorsed the DA too but unfortunately the job isn’t getting done, We are being exposed to the 2 tier system of justice and/or injustice.

Mitch C

I concur with the points made in TKG article. My observation is that our elected officials no longer believe in working for the public good, their only concern is getting re-elected. As I watch the news all I see is talking points and finger pointing, name g, and twisting facts – nothing that addresses the lives of constituents. I always wonder how congressional members making $180,000 per year wind up being multi-millionaires. Time for time limits.


Why Heidi Harmon spends her time trying to get in the spotlight through a stunt that does not help her constituents, Caren Ray and her mortal enemy Lynn Compton join hands, but not to help their community. Their goal is a little attention seeking public relations through a jab at Heidi Harmon’s constant PR campaign. Its ironic Caren Ray and Lynn Compton chastise Heidi Harmon for her attention seeking comments to the press with an attention seeking comment to the press. They all need focus on the issues in our community and turn the mirror away. They are not in junior high school anymore.


I have been dismayed as well – sad that the upsurge in “Democratic” government seems to be represented by a group whose representatives will go just as far to “govern” as those in the current administration Lies, half truths, and self-serving philosophies do not represent my idea of leadership, no matter the claim. Thankfully in California, not being affiliated with a registered party still allows my voice to be heard during elections. However, it does nothing for choosing the candidates that I can select from. I can only surmise that the “Progressive Movement” is the Democrat’s answer to the Republican’s “Tea Party”, neither of which represent the majority of their party’s members.


Many of JFK’s speeches are available on YouTube, I wish they were mandatory to watch before graduating High school, Those and the ones by MLK could really make a difference in voters.


right on… and sadly, they will flame you for your opinion. With these types, free, independent thought, which challenges the “revolution” or the “resistance” as they call it, will make you outcast. Or as their ideological ancestors have done, they would send you to re-education camps until you recanted of your ignorance. History does repeat itself.