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Tuesday June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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United States

United States SenateCandidate for Senator

Photo of Ron Unz

Ron Unz

92,325 votes (1.2%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Raise the national minimum wage to $12 per hour
  • Ensure that all children in American public schools are taught to read English, write English, and speak English as quickly as possible
  • Sharply cut legal immigration and drastically reduce illegal immigration until there are substantial improvements in the economic well-being of ordinary American workers



Profession:Software Developer, Businessman, Publisher, Author, and Political Activist
Founder/Publisher, The Unz Review (2013–current)
Publisher, The American Conservative (2006–2013)
Founder/CEO/Chairman, Wall Street Analytics (1988–2006)


Stanford University M.A. (Not sure whether I officially received it), Theoretical Physics (1985)
Cambridge University Tripos Part III (M.A.), Theoretical Physics (1984)
Harvard College B.A., Theoretical Physics and Ancient History (1983)

Community Activities

Founder and Chairman, English for the Children (1998–current)
Founder and Chairman, Free Harvard/Fair Harvard (2015–current)


As a theoretical physicist by training, I hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Stanford University, and was a past first-place winner in the Intel/Westinghouse Science Talent Search.  During the late 1980s I co-founded Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a financial services software company.  Over the past twenty years my writings have appeared widely in prominent publications of both the Left and Right, and I currently serves as publisher of The Unz Review, offering a selection of alternative-media perspectives. 

 In 1994 I received 34% of the vote running as a pro-immigrant conservative challenger to incumbent California Gov. Pete Wilson in his Republican primary.  Shortly afterwards, I was a top featured speaker at the 70,000-person march against Prop. 187 in Los Angeles, the largest pro-immigrant protest in America history but an event boycotted by almost every other politically prominent non-Latino in the state. 

We live in an era when issues of race and ethnicity are central to our national politics, yet their candid discussion is a dangerous minefield, widely avoided. 

For more than two decades, I have regularly traversed this territory, applying my physics-honed analytical skills to the examination of such contentious social topics as immigration, affirmative action, and bilingual education, as well as the nexus between race, crime, and IQ.  One of my recurrent themes has been "the end of White America." 

My candid discussions of such explosive topics have regularly appeared in leading publications across the ideological spectrum, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Commentary, and National Review, as well as in the pages of The American Conservative, where I served as publisher from 2006 to 2013.  "The Myth of American Meritocracy," my 30,000 word analysis of the biased nature of Ivy League admissions was ranked by some as one of the best magazine articles of 2012, and helped spark an ongoing national debate on the subject. 

In 2011 I suggested that a dramatic hike in the minimum wage to $12 per hour would produce numerous social and economic benefits.   My proposal was quickly taken up by several prominent advocates, including James Galbraith, Ralph Nader, and the late Alexander Cockburn, and further promoted in my own articles, gradually entering the political mainstream, recently becoming a mainstay of Democratic Party policy. 

Aside from my writings on social and economic issues, I have also widely criticized the honesty and reliability of our mainstream media outlets, suggesting that they often constitute an "American Pravda" almost as deceitful as those of the collapsed Soviet Union. 


Most recently, I have organized the Free Harvard/Fair Harvard slate of five candidates, headlined by Ralph Nader, to run for the Harvard Board of Overseers on a platform to immediately abolish all undergraduate tuition and increase the transparency and fairness of the admissions process.

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (6)

Do you support the use of a federal carbon tax on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the use of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and natural gas) as a means to both slow climate change and to reduce the deficit?  Why or why not?
Answer from Ron Unz:

I oppose a federal carbon tax.  Although I have not researched the issue sufficiently to form a solid conclusion, I am somewhat skeptical of the reality of man-made Global Warming due to fossil fuel use, and until I am more solidly convinced on this issue, I obviously cannot support major policy changes to address that supposed problem.

What is your stand on gun control laws at the federal level?  Please explain the reasoning behind your position. 
Answer from Ron Unz:

I'm very skeptical that gun control laws have much impact one way or the other on crime or murder rates, at least compared with numerous other factors.  Since I doubt that gun control laws have much practical impact, it seems to me that most sides in the highly-contentious gun control debate are focusing on an ideological distraction.

Is the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement good for California?  Would you vote to support it?  Please explain why or why not.
Answer from Ron Unz:

Although I haven't formed an absolutely definitive opinion on the TPP trade agreement, everything I've read causes me to lean strongly against supporting it.  In particular, it seems to allow numerous existing American laws and regulations to be overridden by international courts, in ways that might greatly benefit business corporations while hurting the interests of ordinary Americans.

Also, its emphasis on increasing the protections of intellectual property rights seems misguided.  Individuals and businesses centered on such rights are now among the wealthiest and most successful sectors of American society, and an agreement to further increase their wealth may not be the best focus of government efforts.

Finally, my impression is that the TPP is directly against against China, intended to spur the formation of an anti-China economic block, and I think this may be an unwise policy.  Instead, I support good relations with China.

At the federal level, should recreational marijuana be legalized? Why or why not?
Answer from Ron Unz:

Although I haven't studied this particular issue enough to take a direct position, it seems to me that most of our existing illegal drug law policies have been a gigantic failure over the last forty or fifty years, and we should closely consider all possible alternatives to keeping the current system in place.

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of laws.  What, if any, legislation would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?
Answer from Ron Unz:

When I was born in Los Angeles in the early 1960s, the California public infrastruction, including water infrastructure, was easily able to handle the needs of California's population.  Since that time, California's population has increased by 150%, so it's hardly surprising that our infrastructure problems have become severe, including our water problems.  

Population growth nationwide has also been very rapid, and in recent decades America has had the fastest population growth rate of any developed country, and a rate of increase nearly twice that of China, leading to similar problems in other states.

Therefore, an important step that the federal government can take in helping to solve California's water problems is to help reduce our population growth rate.  And virtually all of this population growth rate has been due to very high levels of immigration over the last 40-odd years.

Therefore, I support a sharp reduction in current rates of legal immigration.


Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why. 
Answer from Ron Unz:

Yes, I strongly support sharp cuts in legal immigration rates and strong safeguards against illegal immigration (although the latter is relatively low at the present).

By the simple laws of supply and demand, the large scale immigration of new workers serves to sharply reduce the wages of existing American workers, benefiting Capital at the expense of Labor.  I think it is more than pure coincidence that over the last 40-odd years America has had very high levels of new immigration and over exactly the same period, the bulk of ordinary Americans have seen their incomes and standard of living stagnate or decline.  This was exactly the reason that liberal icon Cesar Chavez spent decades as one of America's most prominent anti-immigration activists.  Indeed, the group that economically suffers most from additional immigration are existing immigrants, since they are faced with the most direct economic competition.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, these decades of very heavy immigration have caused an exponential increase in America's population, which now is rising far faster than any other developed country in the world, and this puts severe strains on our public infrastructure and natural resources.

Meanwhile, the best and most effective means of preventing future illegal immigration is a large hike in the minimum wage.  All studies show that the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants come to America for jobs, and the pundits are absolutely correct when they say "immigrants take the jobs that Americans won't."  But the reason that Americans won't take those jobs is that the wages are just too low, and only desperate, recently-arrived illegal immigrants are willing to take such terrible jobs.  A big increase in the minimum wage would make such jobs much more attractive to native-born Americans and existing immigrants, and this would eliminate the job-magnet that lures future illegal immigrants, making our border-control laws much easier to enforce.



Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $68,565

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of Nguyen, Vincent
Employees of Young, Michael

More information about contributions

By State:

California 98.20%

By Size:

Large contributions (97.29%)
Small contributions (2.71%)

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Based on my particular policy positions over the last couple of decades, I have been variously characterized in the media as "conservative," "libertarian," or even "liberal."   The reason for such contradictory labels is that I tend to form my opinions on policies on a case-by-case basis, relying on what I like to consider the non-ideological facts of the matter, so sometimes the positions I take fall into one camp and sometimes a different one. 

Over the years, I've published a great deal of material on a wide range of subjects, totaling over half a million words, and recently collected my major articles into a book running about 700 pages, "The Myth of American Meritocracy and Other Essays," inexpensively priced on for $19.99.  The book has a very comprehensive index, so anyone interested in seeing where I stand on a particular issue can consult the index and read the relevant pages, then decide for themselves whether they consider me a "liberal" or a "conservative."


Position Papers

The Myth of American Meritocracy and Other Essays


Over the years, I have published many hundreds of thousands of works of articles on a wide range of subjects in numerous national publications.  Last year, I collected some 100 of my major articles and columns and published them in a 700 page book, containing a comprehensive index, that is now available from for $19.99, with most of these articles also being available on my campaign website.


A number of very prominent journalists and academics provided some strong endorsements of my published articles, as provided below:

With high intelligence, common sense, and advanced statistical skills, presented transparently and accessibly, Ron Unz has for decades been addressing key issues in a rapidly changing America, enlightening us on the implications and effects of bilingual programs in American schools, clarifying the issues around crime and immigration so often distorted in political and popular discussion, placing the question of an increased minimum wage effectively on the national agenda, and addressing most provocatively the issue of affirmative action and admission to selective colleges and universities, revealing some aspects of this ever disputed question that have never been noted or discussed publicly before. He is one of our most valuable discussants and analysts of public issues.—Nathan Glazer, Professor Emeritus of Education and Sociology, Harvard University, and author of Beyond the Melting Pot.

Few people on the planet are smarter than Ron Unz or have more intellectual curiosity. This fascinating and provocative collection of essays explores a remarkable range of topics, many of them high profile, some of them arcane. Unz’s analysis is always serious and invariably challenges prevailing wisdoms, which is to say there are a lot of controversial arguments in this book. No one is likely to agree with every one of his conclusions, but we would be better off if there were more people like Ron Unz among us. —John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and author of The Israel Lobby.

Ron Unz is a brilliant essayist. His interests run from ancient history and black holes to contemporary issues like racial quotas and the minimum wage. He moves swiftly to the heart of a subject with cogent analysis and limpid argument. This collection of essays sparkles with unexpected gems ranging from critiques of the mainstream press to appreciation of dissenters from common wisdom such as General Bill Odom and Alexander Cockburn. In every paragraph of these essays the reader enjoys a penetrating intelligence at work. —Nicholas Wade, former writer and editor for The New York Times, and author of Before the DawnThe Faith Instinct, and A Troublesome Inheritance.

Over the past two decades as an original thinker and writer Ron Unz has tackled complex and significant subjects such as immigration, education, economics, race, and the press, pushing aside common assumptions. This book brings together in one volume these pieces from a variety of publications. Unlike other essayists on culture and politics, Unz shreds ideology and relies on statistical data to support his often groundbreaking ideas, such as his 2010 essay on “The Myth of Hispanic Crime.” And his 2014 efforts to put a $12 an hour minimum wage bill before California voters is an example of how the action of an individual can draw public attention to an issue he believes is necessary for the economic health of the Republic. Anyone reading this book will learn a great deal about America from an incisive writer and scholar who has peeled back layers of conventional wisdom to expose the truth on issues of prime importance today. —Sydney Schanberg, Pulitzer-Prize winning former reporter and editor for The New York Times, whose story inspired the 1984 film The Killing Fields.


Provocative and fearless, sometimes infuriating, and quite often, persuasive. And when American’s low-wage workers get their coming big raise, the apostate conservative Ron Unz will deserve a decent share of the credit. —Prof. James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal and Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe .


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