Bill Whalen

Research Fellow

Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow since 1999, writes and comments on campaigns, elections and governance with an emphasis on California and America’s political landscapes.

Whalen is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee and writes on politics and current events for His commentary can also be seen on the opinion pages of the Wall Street JournalReal Clear Politics, Los Angeles Times and the Fox News’ website.

Whalen has been a guest political analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN. He’s also a regular guest on the nationally syndicated radio shows hosted by John Batchelor, Larry Kudlow, Lars Larson and the Bay Area’s Michael Krasny.

Whalen has served as a media consultant for California political hopefuls and aspiring policy leaders. His past clients have included former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former congressman Tom Campbell and former Los Angeles mayor Richard J. Riordan.

Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, Whalen served as chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for former California governor Pete Wilson. In that capacity, he was responsible for the governor's annual State of the State address, as well as other major policy addresses.

Before moving to California, Whalen was a political correspondent for Insight Magazine, the national newsweekly and sister publication of the Washington Times, where he was honored for his profiles and analysis of candidates, campaigns, Congress, and the White House. During those years, Whalen also appeared frequently on C-SPAN, National Public Radio, and CNBC.

In addition to his time in Washington as a political journalist, Whalen served as a speechwriter for the Bush-Quayle reelection campaign and was a senior associate with the public relations firm Robinson-Lake/Sawyer-Miller, offering media and political advice for domestic and foreign clientele.

Whalen currently resides in Palo Alto, California.

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Recent Commentary

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Analysis and Commentary

The Next RNC Chair? Sounds Like A Con(way) Job

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, December 1, 2016

As the Trump transition starts to wind down, I’m curious as to the fate of one high-profile insider. It’s not Rudy Giuliani, one of four reported finalists for Secretary of State (watching America’s Mayor languish in this process – will it be Rudy, or Mitt, or a surprise pick? – is like watching a quarterback prospect slide in the first round of the NFL draft).

Analysis and Commentary

Which Other Jobs Could Gov. Jerry Brown Take On?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown has at least three challenges these days. One is to choose an interim attorney general to fill the remainder of Kamala Harris’ term once she’s sworn in to the U.S. Senate.

In Perspective: Decision 2016 - Poll Position
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Poll Position: An Autopsy Of The 2016 Election

by David Brady, Douglas Rivers, Bill Whalenvia In Perspective: Decision 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election.

Analysis and Commentary

Now That Trump's Decided To Meet The Press, Will His White House Choose To Beat The Press?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, November 21, 2016

As we wait to learn the identities of Donald Trump’s choices for the “big three” of his cabinet – Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury – there’s another high-profile position that’s still unsettled.

Analysis and Commentary

While America Waits For The Autopsy Results, Four Steps The Democrats Can Take

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, November 13, 2016

Four months after the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee released what it called The Growth and Opportunity Project.

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Poll Position: The Aftermath Of The 2016 Elections

by Douglas Rivers, Bill Whalenvia In Perspective: Decision 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016

With the returns in and the presidency decided, we discuss  why the polls didn’t get it right in 2016. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Best Cure For America's Post-Election Hangover

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, November 10, 2016

The best decision this week? Hillary Clinton canceled election night victory fireworks over Manhattan. 


What President-Elect Trump Should Do Now: Ten Suggestions

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

For nearly seventeen months now, I presumed that Donald Trump was playing an elaborate game of chicken with the American people.

Analysis and Commentary

With The Fate Of The Republic In The Balance, Some Election Day Questions To Ponder

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, November 7, 2016

What will we do come Wednesday? Try: second-guessing everything that occurred the previous day. In the meantime, here are some Election Day questions to ponder.

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Barbara Boxer Is About To Be Replaced In Washington — Will It Matter?

by Bill Whalenvia Los Angeles Times
Monday, November 7, 2016

Here’s one election day storyline that won’t garner the attention it deserves: No matter what else happens Tuesday, for the first time in American history, one elected woman will be tapped to replace another in the U.S. Senate, just the way it’s been happening for men since the Republic began.