The OP in this thread wanted to discuss what progressive ideas could be implemented by states, but not how progressive ideas already implemented have worked out. Hence I offer this new thread to discuss that issue.
Which states are progressive? Rather than just listing “blue states”, many of which have Republican governors or legislatures, it seems better to look at states that currently vote for Democrats at all (or almost all) levels: President, Senate, most of their Congressional delegation, governor, and legislature. This, then, is a good list of progressive states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. Broadly speaking, this list of states has policies that would be recognized as progressive: high taxes, especially on the rich; powerful public-sector unions; high minimum wage; and so forth. There are exceptions–Washington state has no income tax, for instance–but generally it seems fair to call these states the progressive ones.
So what are the results? Not terribly by good, by the measures that progressives themselves often mention. When states are ranked by income inequality, four of the seven most unequal are progressive states; none of the seven most equal are. In unemployment, progressive states take three of the highest seven and only one of the lowest seven. And in poverty, California ranks dead last, once cost of living is accounted for. Illegal drug use tends towards the high side.
This is not to say that there may not be other measures by which those same states do quite well. But it should call into question the premise that progressive policies produce the results that progressives think they will. Take income inequality: everyone from the President on down tells us that high minimum wage, taxes on the rich, and strong unions will reduce income inequality. States like Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California have those things, and have some of the highest income inequality in the country. As the Economist article mentions, California is driving away the middle class while attracting the rich and the poor. If you’re a hard-working middle class person, California offers you high taxes, high cost of living, heavy regulations, lousy schools, an overbearing nanny state, and every reason to believe that these problems will only get worse. It only makes sense to live in California if you’re either too rich to worry about work and taxes or too poor to worry about work and taxes.