John H. Bunzel

Senior Research Fellow

John H. Bunzel passed away on July 19, 2018.

Bunzel, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, specialized in current political and educational problems and frequently wrote and lectured on issues of public policy. He was a former commissioner of the US Civil Rights Commission.

He was an expert in the field of civil rights, race relations, higher education, US politics, and elections. His most recent research centered on race and race relations in US society, with a focus on affirmative action, multiculturalism, and diversity in higher education, as well as US politics and elections.

From 1970 to 1978, when he joined the Hoover Institution, he was president of San Jose State University.

Bunzel's most recent book was Race Relations on Campus: Stanford Students Speak (1992). He also published Anti-Politics in America (1968); Political Passages: Journeys of Change through Two Decades, 1968–1988; and The American Small Businessman (1962).

In 1990, he received the eighth annual Hubert Humphrey Award from the American Political Science Association for his years of service as "an outstanding public policy practitioner." He holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Santa Clara; in 1968 he was a California delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 1974 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors awarded him its Certificate of Honor for "unswerving devotion to the highest ideals of brotherhood and service to mankind and dedicated efforts looking to the elimination of racial and religious bigotry and discrimination."

He also wrote numerous articles on trade unions, discrimination and affirmative action, and the relationship between quality and equality in education. He has taught at San Francisco State College (1953–56, 1965–70), Michigan State University (1956–57), and Stanford University (1956–63). The American Voter, his 1964 weekly television program on KPIX (CBS affiliate) in San Francisco, won a national award.

He received an AB in political science from Princeton University, an MA in sociology from Columbia University, and a PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. From 1943 to 1946, he served in the US Army.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

To read the family-written obituary that was published in local newspapers, click here.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Take First Strike Off Table To Prevent A Nuclear Showdown

by John H. Bunzelvia The Post And Courier
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Tensions are so high on the Korean peninsula that a nuclear horror — what the Republican essayist Michael Gerson has called “apocalyptic danger” — is beyond rational comprehension.

Business Abstract
Analysis and Commentary

Nurturing the Real Job Creators

by John H. Bunzelvia Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In an American Express ad promoting Small Business Saturday, a man in a cowboy hat declares: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community." A woman sitting in a clothing store declares such enterprises "absolutely crucial, vital." Over a montage of shops, a young woman explains how local shops "make you happy to live where you live."

GOP Image
Analysis and Commentary

Romney may win on voter discontent with status quo

by John H. Bunzelvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, June 17, 2012

In a reversal of roles, the Republicans are now the party of change, while the Democrats are the status quo party, meaning they are protective, pragmatic and constantly concerned about a new or unanticipated crisis...

an image
Analysis and Commentary

For Barack Obama, it all boils down to the power of golf

by John H. Bunzelvia San Jose Mercury News
Monday, March 15, 2010

I recently broke through White House security and talked with the president about golf. . . .

Barack Obama
Analysis and Commentary

Is Obama's promise of 'real change' in trouble?

by John H. Bunzelvia San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

As the debate over health care comes up against the crucial Christmas Eve vote in the Senate, Democrats who have supported President Obama's call for sweeping health care reform (I include myself) are still waiting to see if their party leaders in Congress can stave off the internal schisms that could derail the chances of fulfilling the president's commitment to bringing about "change we can believe in." . . .

The Supreme Court
Analysis and Commentary

Eliminate the Civil Rights Commission

by John H. Bunzelvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, January 25, 2009

Though memorable beyond comparison, Barack Obama's election was not just about a black man becoming president...

Analysis and Commentary

It's naive to think race won't be a factor for Obama

by John H. Bunzelvia Sacramento Bee
Friday, July 11, 2008

By becoming the first African American set to win the nomination of a major political party, Barack Obama showed that we have come a long way in overcoming our long history of racism...

Analysis and Commentary

What does 'beyond race' look like?

by John H. Bunzelvia San Jose Mercury News
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One can understand why the "race-in-your-face" remarks of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright prompted Barack Obama to conclude that with a friend and pastor like that, he doesn't need too many enemies...

Analysis and Commentary

Nader simply doesn't see two-party value

by John H. Bunzelvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ralph Nader's entrance into the presidential race as a third party candidate demonstrates – not for the first time – that he has made the wrong decision at the wrong time for the wrong reasons...

Analysis and Commentary

So much entertainment can be found in the world of politics

by John H. Bunzelvia San Jose Mercury News
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ever since Washington replaced Hollywood as our entertainment center, I've learned that - like life itself - politics is too important to be taken seriously...