News From The American Institute for Progressive Democracy


Once again this issue of Progressive Democracy has articles covering a large variety of different topics, though all with a creative progressive bent.  Given the highly different backgrounds of the writers, they are also written in quite different ways.  Thus you will find pieces here written by a minister, a political scientist, an economist, a philosopher and a financial administrator.

I must also report here that the forum – Flirting With Fascism?  Trump and the Challenge to Democracy – produced by our parent organization, The American Institute for Progressive Democracy, went off extremely well.  However, the central question, how justified is it to call Trump a fascist?, did not achieve a clear and firm answer:  there are too many considerations and what counts as a fascist is not clearly agreed upon for there to be any definitive answer.  Before the next issue of Progressive Democracy, we will be posting the raw video of the conference on our web site – I will alert you to that next issue.

I must finish here by posting the obituary of a major member of our board.


Garland “Gar” Byrum (1945-2017)

Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not?”   — Robert F. Kennedy   

    With great sadness, we report the death of Garland “Gar” Byrum on 14 October 2017. This is a huge loss. Gar was passionate about politics, history, and justice.  He had a huge knowledge of and reverence for the US Constitution. He knew the Federalist Papers backwards and forwards, and could explain why Donald Trump was James Madison’s worst nightmare.  A long-term political activist, Gar was on the Board of The American Institute for Progressive Democracy (, where he was currently serving as Secretary.  He was past president of the Democratic Club of Claremont and was currently Vice President.  Through his friendship with Celina Lew, Gar sparked the creation of The Cañada Crescenta Democratic Club in 2005. He had been speaker chair for that club as well as for the DCC.  Gar had also worked on campaigns of other candidates, masterminding several in the Claremont area.

        Gar Byrum started a blog in 2013. He called it, “Politics from the Middle.” The website recently registered 25,000 hits. His last entry was about "Taking the Knee" in the NFL. He posted it on Oct. 12, 2017. He passed away while doing what he loved best, working on another entry to his blog.

   Gar Byrum had been planning a wonderful retirement: moving to England at the end of this year to be closer to his daughter, Siobhan, an attorney.  Gar had lived in many places throughout his youth.  His father was a professional meteorologist; his mother, a dancer.  He had attended Pomona High School and USC and had a J.D. degree. His career was as an independent insurance professional. He was a wonderfully wise person who knew how to get along with everyone.