Modern American liberalism or progressivism does have a progressive/socialist ideological core, but it is no monolith. The Nazi Party for all its energy and overzealous behavior was not a monolith. The Democrats are a patchwork coalition of victims with a well educated and rich top (the barbell coalition). If you have spent time in California and then the Bos-Wash corridor, there is definitely a different feel to the forms of liberalism. When discussing society, politics and religion with folks from the Northeast, their outlook and mindset reminds me of western Europeans. When out on the west coast, there is still a love of making money, but that might be due to the banana republic nature of California. Taking a broad view of the two regions, the big difference is race. The American Northeast is devoid of diversity while California has become Mexico. This is the cause of the split between the two regions despite their love of Democrats in national elections. The racial composition of the regions changes their approach to governing.
This map gives us county information. Here we see that while New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut have higher state Gini Coefficients than other states, it is really a function of some major metropolitan areas throwing the numbers up. California has few counties below .42, while several Northeast states have many counties below that line. California is also 40% white, 13% asian, 38% hispanic and 6% black. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are all over 90% white. Pennsylvania is over 80% white. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut are all over 70% white, and while New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware are 55-65% white, the major difference compared to California, looking at the NY Times census maps, is that the rural population is mostly white. This might explain why the Northeast can still elect GOP candidates statewide while California only flirts with the idea; they have a higher number of elastic voters in the rural areas.
California, for all it's liberalism, operates with many features of Latin American 'democracies' with a crust of elite whites holding sway over the patronage system and directing tax and economic policy to help big business. Prop 13 is the famous property tax cap in California that was also a huge boon to businesses, as they saw their property taxes capped as well. Few people talk about amending those tax rules to tax businesses more despite the state being steadily left wing for quite a while. Crony corporatism still works just fine in Latin American countries, and Mexifornia is no different. California cannot escape the diversity of their liberal voting coalition because it is throughout their state. The Inland Empire has become heavily hispanic, which only Victor Davis Hanson seems to notice in any media outlets. Check out those New England states with the racial distribution map filter, and you'll see that New England practices soft apartheid (Connecticut being the worst).
This is why their form of liberalism is different from the Northeast. It's even different from The Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington. Massachusetts seems to be forever trying to outdo itself with regards to social issue liberalism, while California is focused on splitting up that economic pie for the different constituencies. The Northeast has a better Gini Coefficient as a whole compared to California. Lacking an economic axe to grind, their focus can be on social justice, gays and other horrible means of enforcing one's worldview with a gun... much like western Europe. California needs to focus on economic redistribution to cover for the wide gulf of income inequality to keep those poor voters voting the way the rich elite need them to vote. California needs to please big business to keep the money coming in. Coming from Mexico, those poor voters may not see eye to eye with an effete, PhD genius holding a glass of red wine going on for hours about gender normative stereotypes. This works in practice during the good times, but easy credit and low interest rates can only last for so long. "Where's my money jefe?"