Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism

Bill Whalen, the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism and 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 writes on politics and current events for His commentary can also be seen on the opinion pages of the The Washington Post and Real Clear Politics, as well as Hoover’s “California On Your Mind” web channel.

Whalen hosts Hoover’s “Area 45” podcast on politics and policy in the age of the Trump presidency and he serves as one of the moderators of Hoover’s “GoodFellows” broadcast on the social, economic and geopolitical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 and Lars Larson.

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.

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


Bill Whalen On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses Joe Biden's success in the presidential primaries and why the Democratic party is getting behind Biden.

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

In Michigan, Hail To The Victor – Who Likely Won’t Be Bernie

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, March 9, 2020

To the adage that a lot can happen in a year, consider what four times that timespan has done to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his political fortunes in Michigan.


Bernie Took California, But All’s Not Golden In The Biggest Of Super Tuesday Prizes

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Friday, March 6, 2020

With distance comes perspective. And though it hasn’t been all that long since Californians went to the polls, here are some thoughts with regard to this week’s primary in the Golden State, one of 14 states to participate in this year’s “Super Tuesday” of voting, coast to coast.

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

Of Primary Concern: Improving This Presidential Process

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, March 5, 2020

This contest isn’t over. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could stage a comeback (mostly likely, he needs former Vice President Joe Biden committing the mother of all gaffes at the next debate, which is on The Ides of March in Phoenix – two days before big votes in Florida and Ohio).


Bill Whalen On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses the state of the Democratic presidential race as well as whether presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg will drop out.

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

All These States Voting So Soon After South Carolina? Not A “Super” Idea

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, March 2, 2020

As you watch the political spectacle that is “Super Tuesday” unfold – 14 states voting, 1,357 pledged Democratic delegates at stake (1,991 delegates secures a first-ballot convention win) – keep in mind: this is not what the Democratic Party had in mind when its more centrist acolytes devised this one-day wonder decades ago.


Californians Finally Get To Play Presidential Kingmaker. Will They Blow It?

by Bill Whalenvia The Washington Post
Saturday, February 29, 2020

For 25 years, California’s attempts at presidential kingmaking have mostly failed. The state’s primaries have been held too late, or the outcomes couldn’t put any single candidate over the top. But this year, California may well give Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) an insurmountable delegate lead — meaning the Golden State would use its long-craved relevance to help make a self-described socialist the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

What A Lucky “13” On The Primary Ballot Says About California Elections

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Of all the characters involved in next Tuesday’s California primary—the two billionaires whose impossible-to-miss advertising budgets are making it a banner year for local television; the “democratic socialist” who may make the Golden State his biggest delegate haul on “Super Tuesday”—my eye is on Charles Lightfoot III.


Bill Whalen On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses the Democratic primaries and the challenges of trying to defeat Bernie Sanders.

Analysis and Commentary

As California Goes, How Will Newsom And Harris Lean?

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

In culinary terms, February’s limited tasting menu of Democratic presidential votes – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina award 155 delegates, roughly 1/13th the 1,991 needed to secure the party’s nomination – soon becomes a March smorgasbord of main courses.