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

Analysis and Commentary

The Five Stages Of Grieving A Trump Nomination

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

For that beleaguered, bewildered portion of the Republican Party derogatorily referred to as the “GOPE” (as in: “GOP Establishment”) we have a new acronym — DABDA as in “Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.” The Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross coined the words to explain how humans cope with death and loss.

Analysis and Commentary

If The Presidential Race Has You Baffled, Consider What's Happening To Congress

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Under the guise of recent actions I regret, here are two: Signing up for Hillary Clinton campaign emails (they’re far too frequent, way too vapid and at times a little too creepy – especially the ones with message lines like “I need you”).


Four Big Takeaways From Trump's 'Acela Primary' Triumph

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Whoever dubbed Tuesday, April 26 the “Acela Primary” (because the five states that held primaries on that day coincide with the route of Amtrak’s fastest carrier) needs a refresher in how trains and Republican presidential hopefuls run.

Analysis and Commentary

Your Tuesday 'Acela Primary' Prop Bets

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, April 25, 2016

Has anyone given tomorrow’s votes an elevated status? Maybe not, since we’ve had to endure not one, or two, but three Super Tuesdays in 2016. So let’s get right to it – and assign some odds to this not-so-super day that geographically resembles an Amtrak route (hence the term “Acela Primary”).


Delegate Count Dominates Last Weeks Of Primaries

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Saturday, April 23, 2016

After a presidential primary every bit as irritable and irritating as can be expected from a two-week layover in New York, America could use a drama-free Tuesday.


The Calendar Says 2016, But We're Still Partying Like It's 1992

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The prospect of a fall matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump doesn’t lack for unknowns. How will the nation react to the first female presidential nominee of a major party?


Trump Triumphs: Two Big Takeaways After The Donald Wins New York

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

There are two ways to analyze Donald Trump’s decisive win in New York’s presidential primary.

Analysis and Commentary

Hillary's California Adventure: Why Trouble May Await Her Out West

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, April 17, 2016

I had the lead for this column all lined and ready to go – and then Maureen Dowd beat me to it: the oddity of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders heading in opposite directions following Thursday’s Brooklyn debate (in Dowd’s words: “acrimony, cacophony, sanctimony and, naturally, baloney”).


Be It On The Coast, In The Web, Or In The State Capitol: The Question Of California Rising To The Challenge

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Drive into the Central Valley city of Modesto and, at the intersection of 9th and I Streets, you’ll pass underneath the fabled centennial arch that dates back to the early years of the 20th Century. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Presidential Hopefuls May Be In Fun City, But Where's The Hope, Where's The Fun?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, April 9, 2016

A week from now, we’ll be in the relief innings of New York’s presidential primary. And what a relief it will be. There are two ways to look at what’s transpired so far in the Empire State, which votes two Tuesdays from now.