Ron Unz jumped into the U.S. Senate race in California at the last minute last month. He called his campaign a long shot, and he was right about that.
He’s even more of a longshot because this isn’t the only race he’s running. Unz has been getting national attention for a run for Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. These are usually snoozy elections among Harvard alumni for boards that visit the university occasionally to check up on things.
But Unz has put together a petition drive – and a slate of five candidates, including Ralph Nader—to shake up this Harvard overseers board. The slate, including Unz, is running on a platform of making Harvard tuition-free, to inspire other super-wealthy universities to do the same. Unz is also demanding transparency in admissions, as a check on what he sees as corruption in high-stakes college admissions.
Essentially, he’s running to make a point.
Which is also his explanation fore the Senate run, which has gotten less press than what he’s up to at Harvard.
Unz explained in writing he joined the Senate contest because he’s upset about an effort to roll back his 1998 ballot initiative on bilingual education. He also wrote that he wanted to make sure he was the voice on the issue, and wrote that he feared Donald Trump could seize on the issue and thus discredit his position.
I don’t often agree with Unz on the issues, but he’s a thoughtful and unpredictable guy (he’s a Republican who came out early and forcefully for a $12 minimum wage before $15 per hour became fashionable), who puts himself out there when he feels strongly about something.
Two campaigns is a little nuts. So is Unz, in a good way.