David Davenport

Research Fellow

David Davenport is a research fellow specializing in international law and treaties, constitutional federalism, and American politics and law.

Davenport is the former president of Pepperdine University (1985–2000). Under his leadership, the university experienced significant growth in quality and reputation. Davenport cofounded Common Sense California and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. He also served on the board of California Forward, a major bipartisan reform group, and was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Performance Review Commission. Davenport is a member of two corporate boards as well.

His work on policy appears in a number of places, including a regular column in Forbes.com and regular radio commentaries on the Salem Radio Network and Townhall.com.

He recently coauthored the book The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism, which explains how the New Deal of the 1930s established the framework for today’s US domestic policy and the ongoing debate between progressives and conservatives.

Davenport has also contributed chapters to Hoover books on values in a free society and legal threats to American values and has authored articles in Policy Review on “The New Diplomacy” and “The Politics of Literacy.” Davenport is a popular public speaker, having served for several years as a world affairs lecturer for Crystal Cruises.

Davenport earned a BA with distinction in international relations from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Kansas School of Law, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and earned national and international awards in moot court competitions.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

A New Era Of Student Protests

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Saturday, November 14, 2015

After 40 years of declining college student interest in political matters, political engagement and protests have returned to campus.

Analysis and Commentary

Davenport: Court Halts Environmental Overreach

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, November 2, 2015

Fortunately, federal courts have been stepping up to challenge President Obama’s overreach of executive powers, whether in recess appointments or immigration policy. Now it’s happening in the environmental field as well.


Bernie And Hillary Beware: Something Is Rotting In Denmark

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Sunday, November 1, 2015

While Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds up Denmark as a model for the U.S. to emulate, it looks like Hamlet was right: something is rotting in the state of Denmark.

Analysis and Commentary

Davenport: Republican Disruptors Not Uber Successful

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Republicans are becoming the party of disruptors. The Freedom Caucus in the House was successful at wearing out Speaker John Boehner and running off his likely successor Kevin McCarthy.  Meanwhile, in the presidential campaign, Republican disruptors are winning. The three outsiders—Trump, Carson and Fiorina—have a collective 54 percent in support, with all the rest who have been officeholders at 39 percent.


Republicans As Disruptors: Unfortunately They're Not Uber

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

To disrupt an existing way of doing business, you need to offer a better way--and this is has always been a challenge for conservatives.

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Let My Conscience Be Your Guide

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 16, 2015

Are eternal truths subject to the approval of nine justices? Pondering the right to live as if God mattered.


Hillary Hears Perot's Giant Sucking Sound And Flips On Trade Agreement

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Thursday, October 8, 2015

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) turned 21 this year, an appropriate time to evaluate its successes and failures and to apply those lessons to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement recently signed and under review by the U.S. Congress.


Presidential Debates: The Outsiders Are Still Winning

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Big surprise: the Republican debate at the Reagan Library did not produce a clear winner, or even a single compelling narrative. That’s not really the point when you put 11 candidates on a stage for three hours more than a year before the election.


What's So Good About Donald Trump?

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It seems like everybody has something bad to say about Donald Trump—everyone except Republican voters who are speaking through the polls. One headline says he is a “mortal threat” to the GOP.


David Davenport: Is Saying “American” Now A Problem on Campus?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport discusses the “Bias Free Language Guide” the University of New Hampshire recently published.